Dust storms on Mars are bigger than we thought; they even spill into space. According to a recent paper in JGR Planets, Mars appears to be leaking dust, filling a huge volume of the inner solar system with gritty debris. You can see it with your naked eye. The bright triangle in this image from the Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii is marsdust.
It’s called Zodiacal Light, and astronomers have long wondered what causes it. The usually faint triangle is sunlight scattered by dust in the plane of our solar system. The dust, it turns out, comes from Mars.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew through the dust cloud en route to Jupiter between 2011 and 2016. Dust grains smashed into Juno at about 10,000 mph, chipping off submillimeter pieces of spacecraft. Juno’s oversized solar arrays turned out to be excellent dust detectors, registering as many as 200 hits per day.
Ironically, the sandblasting allowed researchers to map the cloud for the first time. One theory of Zodiacal Light held that asteroids were responsible. Yet, as Juno flew through the asteroid belt toward Jupiter, impact rates sharply dropped, sometimes to zero. Asteroids were not the answer. Instead, they realized, the dust must be coming from Mars. Orbital elements of the dust grains essentially match that of the Red Planet.
Mars is the dustiest place in the Solar System, with dust storms that envelop the entire planet for months. But how does this dust escape? During storms, dust is sometimes launched to very high altitudes in the Martian atmosphere; researchers call it ‘rocket dust’. However, leaving Mars requires overcoming escape velocity (~5 km/s), and even rocket dust has trouble doing that. Dust grains would have an easier time launching from Phobos and Deimos; however, those small moons don’t produce enough dust to explain the Zodiacal Light.
So, there’s still a mystery here. Mars has the dust, but researchers haven’t yet figured out how Mars delivers it. Lead author John Leif Jørgensen (Technical University of Denmark) and colleagues hope other scientists will help them solve this final piece of the puzzle.
A few months ago I considered closing the Bureau option on some of my call signs on OQRS as the demands and costs are getting unsustainable. I actually decided NOT to do that and at this current time, all Bureau cards are now ready to be dispatched in the next couple of weeks.
However, the global pandemic has caused a major restriction on air freight worldwide which has led to enormous increases in costs. For example, 10 small packages to ARRL have increased from £14 in total to £103, while the parcel to Japan JARL from £50 to £160, if you multiply the increases to all 90 IARU Bureau destinations the cost is quite a shock to bear.
I therefore had no choice but to introduce a $0.30c charge on Bureau cards on OQRS to help alleviate losses in my future Bureau mailings.
I appreciate to some, this may not be very popular but let me stress, this is NOT about making money. Applying a small charge/contribution will go a huge way to combat the deficit in Postage Costs to World Bureau’s. Without it the Bureau service will not be viable and will cease.
Thank you for your understanding…
Henry NL0H is now very active again from St. Lawrence Island / Sivuqaq (IOTA NA-040 ITU Zone 1/CQ Zone 1).His recent antenna upgrades have given him quite a boost on the air and his signals are now being received Worldwide. Henry uses a 2014 Honda Rancher 420 mobile power supply, Yaesu FT-891, and portable super antenna. Usually only on 20, 30 & 40 meters. Also now using a end-fed for radio in the village with decent results thanks to finding a somewhat quiet location although still electrical noise bothering receive.
Henry’s mode of choice is SSB but sadly under current conditions, his 70/100 watts on SSB doesn’t always do the job and he finds himself dropping onto FT8 just to get his rare IOTA and Zone out to the many Chasers who need it.
His antenna modifications have now seen him log VK, ZL, ZS, 3W and many stations in EU including the UK.
Please support Henry by giving him a call when you hear him but again, please be patient, weather conditions in Alaska can be very hard work in the cold weather he is trying is best to accommodate everyone around his busy work schedules.
You can find his Log available to search and request QSL Cards on M0OXO OQRS (Click Logo on the right side of this screen).