Feeds

Boffins reckon Mars quite blustery actually

Shifting sand dunes caused by wind, not carbon dioxide frost

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A new geophysical study of Mars' sand dunes has claimed that the Red Planet may be a windy place after all, despite the evidence of previous experiments.

The shifting red sands of the planet have up till now been attributed to carbon dioxide ice sublimation, since boffins believed that strong winds weren't a possibility in the current Martian climate.

Researchers trying to figure out how the dunes on Mars moved around have previously conducted wind tunnel and atmospheric computer simulations that seemed to suggest that the planet wasn't a very blustery place. They concluded that the sands must move about because of carbon dioxide frost instead.

But in a new study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), boffins from the SETI Institute, the University of Coimbra in Portugal and the US Geological Survey focused their attention on dune movement in the Arabia Terra and Meridiani region of Mars, which are not affected by seasonal changes in carbon dioxide ice.

Using images for the High Resolution Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, NASA's water-seeking satellite, and other sources of information, they measured the sands merrily blowing along by 0.4m to 1m (1.3 to 3.3ft) per Martian year.

"The study shows clear evidence that wind-driven dune activity occurs regularly on Mars today," the American Geophysical Union, publisher of GRL, said. "This suggests that carbon dioxide ice sublimation is not necessary for Martian sand movement, as had previously been thought, and that wind tunnel measurements and computer simulations showing that strong winds are rare on Mars need to be reconsidered." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.