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'Dust Devils' Photographed on Mars after Cleaning Spirit?

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posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 01:57 PM
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Ok, the title of this thread is a little misleading (as the devils were photographed during the day while the cleanings have occured at night), but I wanted to jam all the relevant info into the lead so that it would get people's attention.


Basically, for the last year the rovers on Mars (particularly Opportunity) have been getting their solar panels cleaned at night. This has allowed them to operate on Mars for far longer than expected. It's also been unexplainable.

Now. however, NASA has photographed a 'dust devil' spinning by the rover Spirit around the same time that its panels were cleaned. Coincidence? Explanation? Some people think that this solves the mystery of the rover cleanings while others point out that these dust-offs have occured at night when dust devils are supposedly impossible:

www.newscientist.com...

"The team is still figuring out exactly when the power boost occurred, and whether it was a single event or not. Science team member Geoffrey Landis told New Scientist that the cleaning of the solar panels may have taken place at night. But dust devils occur only in the midday sunlight, he notes, so it may have simply been a strong breeze that cleaned the rover.
"Too much of a coincidence?
"Matthew Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory considers the breeze hypothesis implausible. Golombek, who was the chief scientist of the Pathfinder mission and is another member of the rover science team, told New Scientist: "We wait for months to see a dust devil and finally catch one and there's this big power boost within a day of it? That's too much of a coincidence." '

So, perhaps our understanding of Martian meteorology is off... or maybe these dust devils aren't really what we think they are?


[edit on 16-3-2005 by onlyinmydreams]




posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 04:12 PM
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i have to say that the missions have been a great success from where i stand. Lots and lots of info was gathered and many new things discovered. Really great stuff to see. Maybe nasa will get more money so that they can continue their noble work.



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 04:22 PM
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Thats pretty cool. It's hard to judge how close things are and how big because there is nothing to reference.

I wonder how quiet it is on Mars. Also, Imagine how many stars you could see at night time. No light reflection at all to get in the way.



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 04:32 PM
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If you want to see a lot of stars with literally no light refraction the place you want to be is the far/dark side of the moon, the sun is blocked out, as are all manmade light sources (since it's the moon...d'uh). Only 3 people have ever seen the universe from this area, the men on board Apollo 13.



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 09:08 PM
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I saw some pictures of the dust devil. Even though its a common occurence on Earth (Except for the whole size thing), seeing it from another planet is amazing.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 01:25 AM
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well if the whole lifespan of the rovers was based on the amount of dust accumulated on the panels, i'm surprised that they didn't just put a fan or some cheap part to simply remove dust from the panels. simply maintanance, just a dust off basically was all that was needed to keep this mission going longer. that's a lot of money going to waste if it were to have been as short as original nasa projections. however, the dust devils are a god send for these things cause who knows how long they'll last now. wonder if there's any bets on the rovers still moving when man reaches mars.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 05:22 AM
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Originally posted by UnMature
If you want to see a lot of stars with literally no light refraction the place you want to be is the far/dark side of the moon, the sun is blocked out, as are all manmade light sources (since it's the moon...d'uh). Only 3 people have ever seen the universe from this area, the men on board Apollo 13.


Also, Apollo 8 crew, and the third man in each of the other missions since only 2 went down to the surface e.g. Michael Collins in Apollo 11.




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