Drones probe terrestrial dust devils to better understand the atmosphere of Mars

phys.org | 4/8/2019 | Staff
MysticHeart (Posted by) Level 3
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Dust devils, small dusty whirlwinds, have been studied for decades. But, says Brian Jackson, an associate professor in the Department of Physics at Boise State University, the ability of dust devils to lift dust into the atmosphere remains murky. "When we compare theoretical predictions of how much dust a devil should lift to how much it does lift, the numbers just don't add up," says Jackson.

Now, Jackson and his team, including Dr. Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab and Michelle Szurgot, an undergraduate physics major at Boise State, have begun to study the phenomenon in a way it has never been studied before. They fly drones through active dust devils on the Alvord Desert of southeastern Oregon. The drones carry cameras and other lightweight instruments, including pressure and temperature loggers, that measure the structures of the dust devil while taking particle samples to determine how much material the dust devil is carrying. Jackson will present results today at the EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dust - Devils - Climates - Earth - Mars

Dust devils, while common in arid climates on Earth, are ubiquitous on Mars, where they...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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