DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 34. Mars Atmosphere II: Clouds and Dust
Oral, Chairs: M. Wolff, A. Colaprete, Thursday, November 29, 2001, 4:40-6:10pm, Regency E

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[34.04] Properties of Arizona Dust Devils: a Martian Analog

P. H. Smith, N. Renno (University of Arizona), MATADOR Team

During the week of June 4-8, 2001, the MATADOR team instrumented a truck to study the properties of dust devils at a Martian analog site in Eloy, AZ. MATADOR consists of a group of instruments operated by a science team of about 20 members originally selected by the HEDS program for a 2003 lander mission to Mars. Currently deselected with the loss of the mission, the team has continued studying the optimum means for measuring dust devil properties. With an eye for remotely sensing and identifying potential hazards to humans and their equipment, MATADOR can eventually act as an early warning system much like tornedo and hurricane watches on the Earth. Key questions that the MATADOR group is addressing concern the ability of LIDAR (provided by Optech in Canada) to scan dust devils, the strength of electrical charging and the associated E-fields that are created, the oxidation of the local soil from ionized species, and the best ways to measure the quixotic meteorological properties that define dust devils. Dozens of dust devils were monitored during the field test both remotely and in situ, the results of our study will be presented in detail. One thing is clear though, dust devils maintain a tremendous charge separation such that E-fields approach the breakdown potential of the Earth's atmosphere. Equivalent dust devils on Mars would be 100 times larger than their small Earth cousins; despite the much reduced breakdown potential of the Martian atmosphere, charge separations are likely to occur on Mars. The discharging of these dust events would create electrical signals that can be studied remotely. We would like to thank NASA's HEDS division for their support of these investigations.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/IMP/MATADOR. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: psmith@lpl.arizona.edu

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