Saturday, January 30, 2016

Action Items and Experiments

Action Items

  1.  More investigation of picture that we think shows cornices on Mars and other HighRise pictures.     

Experiments to find others to do or do ourselves

 1) Test if Martian wind can blow Martian frost

  Question is if Martian frost is light and fluffy enough to be blown by the thin Martian atmosphere.
Trying to find someone with a Mars simulation chamber to try this but may be able to do some ourselves.   Could have a tinny balloon and way to pop it.  Could have a nozzel to direct the expanding air.  By the time it got to the near vacuum it could be going fast.   Also think of using a CO2 cartridge type toy gun which is designed to release a small burst of CO2.  With nozzel this could be made into a wind.

Could also test with simulated Martian dust to see if the dust could push the frost.

We have a valve on our vacuum chamber.  When we open this is make a wind in the near vacuum.  We can show this does blow things like bits of paper towel around but have not shown it blowing snow.  We plan to do better tests but would really like to find someone who could simulate Martian snow and wind.

2) Test if avalanche can dampen soil in Martian conditions

It seems the paths on Mars are from some H2O getting in the soil.  If an avalanche is causing this then we need for a bunch of frost/ice/snow to be able to leave some H2O in Martian soil.   Since liquid water is not stable on Mars this is an issue.  So there is possible reason for experiment on this issue.

There seems to be some type of salt and salt can raise the melting point of ice and make liquid water stable on Mars.   We have some Iron Sulfate.  This can chemically combine with water and so take a long time to release the water.  This would fit with the paths lasting a long time.  

When an ice skater moves over the ice the high pressure under the skates temporarily melts some ice.  So it is also possible that the weight/force of the frost/ice/snow on Mars during the avalanche would be enough to temporarily melt it and let some water combine with the soil.

One Martian lander had dust and frost make drops of liquid water on its legs.  

It seems plausible that water could get into the soil from an avalanche passing over, but experiment showing this would be good.

We have done some experiments and can show ice getting a sample soil wet in a near vacuum.  So this part seems very plausible.

3) Are wind directions on Mars right for making cornices on the cliff faces of RSL locations?   

4) Are weather conditions right for snow at night and avalanches during the day when RSLs are active?

Experiments that no longer seem needed but might be fun anyway

1) Test if snow can make an avalanche in Martian atmosphere 

     The question is if we warm up some snow in near vacuum will it get soft and make an avalanche or just sublimate away.

    Want it just holding on to a steep slope and then hope it comes lose when warmed.  Might put a heavy weight on top to give bottom of snow some pressure to melt/slide first.  Might put whole thing in  freezer and then after showing it is stable turn on a warm light.   Might do it at room temperature with a weight and  warm light.   Maybe some salt under the snow.  Probably more than one experiment.  Still thinking what to do.  

    Could also test with dirty snow.  If  Martian dust is mixed with snow it might get soft before sublimating.

    On further Googling.  Note that Iron loses strength well before it melts and ice does this also.  Ice can go from able to hold 100 Kg per cm^2 to just 10 Kg.   Could test it this way, like how strong some ice is as we get closer and closer to the melting point.  However, it now seems obvious that under the right conditions warming snow can make it go from stable to avalanche.  On Earth warming of snow increases the risk of avalanche.   Not clear there is any point to experimentation on this topic. 

Experiments with hydrated salts

1) I think that something like Iron Sulphate is chemically combining with the water so that it takes a long time to "dry out".   It would be fun to do experiments with this but not sure about keeping the near vacuum for such a long time needed.   I doubt our vacuum pump would last anywhere near long enough.

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