Thursday, August 24, 2017


Article Written By: Teresa Marotta


Research from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in France reveals that as a result of the  temperature drop after the Sun sets on Mars, Mars experiences strong snowstorms filled with gusts of wind.

"It's the first time anyone has shown that snowstorms, or water-ice microbursts, occur presently on Mars," Spiga told Andy Coghlan at New Scientist. "[W]e used much more sophisticated and fine-scale modelling than done before, allowing us to reinterpret existing measurements that posed mysteries."

By using NASA’s Phoenix lander’s readings along with observations from the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, the researchers calculated that snowfall on Mars is composed of heavy snowstorms with small chunks of ice being hurled toward the Martian surface. "The amount of water overall is quite small – so you won't be able to build any snowmen on Mars with that," Spiga said to Amina Khan at The Los Angeles Times, "and you won't be able to put up a ski station. Researchers believe the snowstorms would create a thick layer of frost over Mars’ surface.

"[T]he associated winds found in the storm are rather vigorous," one of the team, Franck Montmessin from France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, said to ResearchGate. "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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