Status Report

Wanted: Space-Age Dust Removal On Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
April 29, 2008
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Wanted: Space-Age Dust Removal On Mars


If Mars had an on-line Web site for ads, one of them might say something like this: “Wanted: Gentle space-age dust removal system to clean solar cells without leaving grit behind. Please direct inquiries to NASA.”

NASA’s Spirit rover has accumulated a lot of dust during four years of exploring Mars, especially following last year’s dust storms. Only about one-third of incoming sunlight is able to penetrate dust on the rover’s solar panels to be converted to electricity. As a result, Spirit is experiencing the lowest energy levels to date and accumulating a backlog of data waiting to be transmitted to Earth. The only available cleaning agent would be a timely gust of Martian wind!

Microscopic image credits:


SpaceRef staff editor.