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# 12 Things Curiosity Forgot to Inspect & Some Concerns About NASA's Information Policy

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posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 09:28 PM

A martian dust grain that is 30 micrometre is only 0.030 millimeters big. And the article cites them to be that size or smaller.

Particles suspended in the air are 6 micrometre or smaller (that is 0.006 millimeters).

The blueberries at 5 millimeters would be 5,000 micrometre in size. It's over 166,666 times bigger than the biggest dust particles.

It sounds to me as if you are suggesting there is not enough force to clean the solar panels. Although it looks like those panels get pretty darned clean. How can we reconcile the two?

So the wind cannot pick up particles larger than 6 micrometres, but where does that leave us with the question I asked above, which is -

Which one is correct? Either the wind has enough force to blow actual sand grains (and maybe larger), cleaning the rovers panels, and eroding rocks or it is very weak and only blowing talc-powder-sized dust and not eroding rocks? Thats what I am asking but dont seem to be getting any difinitive answer.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 10:12 PM

Originally posted by qmantoo

A martian dust grain that is 30 micrometre is only 0.030 millimeters big. And the article cites them to be that size or smaller.

Particles suspended in the air are 6 micrometre or smaller (that is 0.006 millimeters).

The blueberries at 5 millimeters would be 5,000 micrometre in size. It's over 166,666 times bigger than the biggest dust particles.

It sounds to me as if you are suggesting there is not enough force to clean the solar panels. Although it looks like those panels get pretty darned clean. How can we reconcile the two?

So the wind cannot pick up particles larger than 6 micrometres, but where does that leave us with the question I asked above, which is -

Which one is correct? Either the wind has enough force to blow actual sand grains (and maybe larger), cleaning the rovers panels, and eroding rocks or it is very weak and only blowing talc-powder-sized dust and not eroding rocks? Thats what I am asking but dont seem to be getting any difinitive answer.

Okay, first, just to make sure you didn't misunderstand me, 6 micrometre particles suspend in the air is not the same as the wind being able to move them around. Suspend in the air means they are small and light enough to remain in the air for a long period.
Another example: From 1981 to 1985 I lived in Naples, Italy. During certain times of the year we would get this really, really light and fine covered dust that would coat things lightly. If my mom left the bathroom window open, it would get on the sink and you could see it.
That dust came all the way from Africa. It was so fine and small that it can stay "suspended" in the air for long periods, being carried by air currents.
When I lived there it was near the beach in Pinetamare, and during the winter the winds would howl and were strong enough to sweep sands into the street. Sands much larger and heavier than the dust from Africa, and even in the strong winds could only make it from the beach to a few blocks down the street.
So the sands were not suspended in the air because they were too large an heavy, were as that dust from Africa was so small and light, it could stay in the air and be carried around by air current before landing on surfaces.

Okay, now as to your question: Now I'm confused. The "cleaning" that the rover panels gets is not like you are I are out there with paper towels and Windex glass cleaner wiping them off. You can see in the photos that those solar panels do have dust on them still.
But it sounds like (and I may be misunderstanding you) that you think the panels are being wiped clean.

And yes, even with the consistency of flour, those dust particles can erode rock. It takes a very, very, very (and a lot more "verys" here) long time to do it, but then those rocks have been there for a very long time. Mars doesn't have plate tectonics like the Earth does. The only renewing of the crust that Mars had was from it's volcanoes or when a meteor plows into it. Unlike the Earth that has plates moving around with them subducting and active volcanoes still spewing out new material even today.

Mars stopped being as geologically active as the Earth a very long time ago. So a lot of those rocks have been around since that time. Before, when it still had a thicker atmosphere, stronger winds, and actual liquid water to work on them did do a lot of eroding then.
Then as the air was stripped away after Mars lost most of it's magnetic field, the water went away (or way down into the ground), so there is not as much eroding going on as before. This happened billions of years ago.

It's important to think about those numbers: billions. Even though I'm a big astronomy person, large numbers like billions it hard to think about. Heck, looking at dino fossils and thinking "this is 65 million years old" doesn't quite fit in my head. That's OLD.

So yes, even as soft and small as the martial dust is, given enough time, it will erode rock. And Mars has had a LOT of time for it to do so.

posted on Aug, 13 2013 @ 01:55 PM

Originally posted by jlafleur02
Is there any way that a person with the technological know how could intercept the rover transmission?

Such a person would require a ring of base stations around the equator with 100 metre diameter dishes, know the correct communication protocols that the Mars vehicles are using, and can afford the kilowatts of electricity to receive and transmit data. However, if they missed a single data packet, then their interception would be useless.

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