Are Martian Dust Storms Dangerous?

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Just how dangerous are a terrifying dirt storms that overflow Mars?

Image from Mars taken by a Viking 2 lander. Credit: NASA

Image from Mars taken by a Viking 2 lander. Credit: NASA

Brave explorers trek opposite a red dunes of Mars when a dangerous dirt charge blows in. In moments, a astronauts are bloody by gale force winds and pushing sand, shortening prominence to zero. The dauntless heroes event desperately by a pushing onslaught, acid in vain for preserve from a inauspicious conditions. One is blown into a ravine, or right to a corner of a cliff, requiring a thespian rescue and expected a terrible terrible scapegoat and critical interruption disproportion display a loyal eagerness of a heroes.

“Tell my Asuka… printed physique pillow… we desired her…”

Will they make it? Why a heck would anyone land on that dry irradiated genocide trap? Actually, a improved doubt competence be “Why do writers gaunt so tough on this trope?”. I’m looking during we Andy Weir.

Martian dirt storms don’t only come from a heated imagination of a same sci-fi author who gave us a sensuous Venusian jungle, Saturnalian lava flats and Moon building cheese. These dirt storms are all too genuine and they expostulate during critical windspeeds.

An painting of a dirt charge on Mars. Credit: Brian Grimm and Nilton Renno

An painting of a dirt charge on Mars. Credit: Brian Grimm and Nilton Renno

NASA’s Viking landers clocked them during 100 km/h during dirt charge season. Which is a thing on Mars. The landers easeful adequate from a large storms that they substantially didn’t knowledge a biggest winds they’re able of.

Scientists have seen justification that silt is shifted around on a aspect of Mars, and a regolith requires high zephyr speeds to collect it adult and force it around. Dust devils spin adult opposite a surface, and stagger during whirly speeds.

When a zephyr is above 65 km/h, it’s quick adequate to collect adult dirt particles and lift them into a atmosphere encasing a world in a huge, swirling, shroud. Freaked out yet? Is this dangerous? It certain sounds dangerous.

Apologies to all a fearmongering sci-fi writers, though actually, it’s not that dangerous. Here’s why.

First off, you’re not on Mars. It’s a book. Second, it’s a totally opposite knowledge on Earth. Here when we feel a zephyr blustering we in a face, or watch it idle a residence during a tornado, it’s a movement of a atmosphere particles hammering into it.

That movement comes from atmosphere molecule firmness and their velocity. Sadly, a firmness of a atmosphere on Mars is a ethereal 1% of what we’re used to. It’s got a velocity, though it only doesn’t have a density.

It’s a disproportion between removing strike by a garden hose and a firehose with a same projection speed. One would gets we soaked, a other can pull we down a transport and give we bruises.

Opportunity Rover. Credit: NASA

Opportunity Rover. Credit: NASA

To feel a slight zephyr on Mars identical to Earth, we greaten a zephyr speed by 10. So, if a zephyr was going about 15 km/h here, you’d need to be strike by winds going about 150 km/h there to have a same experience.

It’s not unfit for winds to go that quick on Mars, though that’s still not adequate zephyr to fly a kite. To get it off a belligerent your goal friend binds a kite, and we run around in a reticent Martian silt like a try-hard ass.

It would fly for a second and afterwards pile-up down. You’d consternation since we even brought a kite to Mars in a initial place since it’s NEVER breezy enough.

Boo hoo. Your Mars kite doesn’t work. Good news! You’re on Mars!
Bad news. It was a one approach trip. Good news! A sorceress has done we immortal!
Bad news. The sorceress has brought to life a whole illusory expel of a Twilight array and they’re also there and immortal. Have fun brooding with your new dorky friends, FOR ETERNITY.

What I’m observant is we could mount on a red world grill square and giggle during anything a continue complement could chuck during you. That is unless, you’re solar powered.

Mars gets unchanging dirt storms. From time to time, they can get truly global. In 2001, a charge picked adult adequate dirt to hide a whole world in a red haze. Temperatures went adult as dirt helped trap feverishness in a atmosphere. This charge lasted for 3 months before temperatures cooled, and a dirt staid behind down again.

During a charge in 2007, dirt blocked 99% of a light reaching a solar panels of a Opportunity rover. This exceedingly decreased a appetite it had to energy a instruments, and many importantly, a heaters. Ultimately, it was probable that a cold could kill a rover, if a dirt hadn’t subsided fast enough.

If we occur to see a film or review a book about an wanderer on Mars traffic with a dangerous dirt storm, don’t worry. They’ll be fine, a zephyr won’t fragment them to pieces. Instead, concentration on unbreathably skinny atmosphere, a bone chilling cold, or a consistent lethal radiation.

That and where’s their food come from again? Well, now we know dirt storms aren’t a large issue. Want to transport to Mars? Tell us in a comments below.

Source: Universe Today, created by Fraser Cain