New Research Shows Mars Experiences Violent Snowstorms – Futurism

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:31 am

In Brief A group of planetary scientists studying Mars' atmosphere have finally obtained proof that it snows on the red planet. The snowstorms don't drop a lot of snow, but the way they form can make landings harder for future spacecraft.

We now have evidence that Mars gets its share of snow and that far from being only light flurries, theyre sometimes violent snowstorms.

These storms are much different from what was previously thought of the red planets weather, which only occurs at night and comes with intense gusts of wind. This new forecastcame from a combination of data on water-ice clouds, collected by the Mars Global Surveyor and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft over the years, and data gathered by NASAs Phoenix Lander, which ventured to Mars in 2008.

Its the first time anyone has shown that snowstorms, or water-ice microbursts, occur presently on Mars, said lead researcher Aymeric Spiga, a planetary scientist from the Universit Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, to New Scientist. Any snow particles formed were thought to fall only very slowly through their own weight.

Spiga explains that previous attempts to find snowstorms were unsuccessfulbecause scientists were using the wrong models, or only one model at a time. Spiga and his team used more sophisticated and fine-scale modelling, allowing them to simulate Mars atmosphere in greater detail.

Many of the snowstorms will gradually come to an end before reaching the planets surface, but others can make it to ground level if a cloud forms closer to the surface. That said, the amount of snow isnt enough to ski on, or even to make a decent snowman.

The way it forms, however, could have an impact onfuture attempts to land on the planet for colonization.

Well, the associated winds found in the storm are rather vigorous, explained Franck Montmessin, another member of Spigas team studying Mars atmosphere, to ResearchGates blog. Since they occur in the lower part of the atmosphere, one might want to avoid these turbulent events to ensure a safe landing.

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New Research Shows Mars Experiences Violent Snowstorms - Futurism

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