General, Research, Technology

Mars has electricity, but where does it come from?

People want to go to Mars as early as 2024,but this planet is still poorly understood. Scientists are pretty sure there is water there, at least frozen, but what about the electricity? Recently, American scientists conducted an experiment, during which it became clear that during dust storms on Mars, static electricity can arise. And this is a potentially dangerous phenomenon that can lead to damage to research equipment. Fortunately, according to scientists, there is no cause for great concern, because the resulting electricity is not strong and is unlikely to cause big problems. But there is a question: why exactly do electrical discharges arise and how powerful are they? Everything is very simple and now you will see it.

Mars has electricity, but not enough

Interesting fact: sending people to Mars in 2024 planstake up the SpaceX company. At what point the astronauts will be landed is still unknown. But there are at least two places where people will feel good.

Electricity on Mars

There are no signs of liquid water on the surface of Mars,therefore, it is logical to assume that the sand on the planet is very dry. According to the researchers, during dust storms, these grains of sand can rub against each other, generating static electricity. It is believed that if the resulting discharges are powerful, it can damage the scientific equipment. It is possible that some of the sparks can be deadly like lightning - in which case even astronauts are in potential danger. That is why this phenomenon needs to be carefully studied.

It was believed that electricity on Mars could interfere with research. But there's nothing to worry about

What is static electricity?

Scientists have long proven that the world consists ofatoms. This is the name of the tiny particles that make up everything that we see. Even our bodies are made of atoms. Inside each atom there are smaller elements: a nucleus with protons and neutrons inside it, as well as rotating electrons.

Atom structure

Now attention:protons are charged with a plus sign and electrons with a minus sign. Usually, atoms have the same number of pros and cons and have zero charge. But with friction, electrons sometimes leave their orbit and hit other atoms. As a result, energy is created, which we are used to calling electricity. Static electricity can be observed if you put on dry wool socks and fumble with them on a nylon carpet - electrical discharges will occur. Of course, this is a very rough explanation and example, but the main thing now is to understand how it all works.

See also: What causes lightning and how does it appear?

Natural phenomenon of Mars

Scientists believe that during dust storms, particlesMartian sand can also rub and generate electricity. To test their theory, they decided to recreate the dust storm in a laboratory setting. At the moment, scientists do not have samples of real Martian soil, so they used volcanic ash. So-so analog, but it is believed that it is as similar as possible to the sand on Mars. By recreating a Martian storm inside a glass tube, scientists actually observed sparks. But the devices showed that these are very weak electrical discharges, so they are unlikely to harm anyone. According to foreign publications, to get the same static electricity, you can rub the balloon on your hair and lean it against the window glass. Nothing wrong.

A dust storm on Mars as seen by the artist

But dust storms are still potentiallydangerous phenomenon for future inhabitants of Mars. In June 2018, a severe storm began on the planet, as a result of which the Opportunity Mars rover was badly damaged. It is believed that a thick layer of dust has settled on its solar panels, due to which the device has lost its energy source. First, the device went into sleep mode, and then communication with it completely disappeared. In February 2019, the NASA aerospace agency announced the completion of the rover mission. If you want to know what will become of him after millions of years, read this article.

The Opportunity rover is the first victim of a storm on Mars

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Like on Earth, there are many dangerous on distant planetsnatural phenomena. In addition to dust storms, Marsquakes sometimes occur on Mars. At the moment, it was not possible to fix a strong oscillation of the planet's surface. Since April 2019, the InSight device has recorded 480 Marsquakes, but they occurred at great depths and were hardly noticeable. But whether there are serious natural disasters there is still unknown.