View Full Version : Mystery Martian 'Carwash' Helps Space Buggy

12-22-2004, 10:50 AM
LONDON (Reuters) - An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said on Tuesday.

It said something -- or someone -- had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night.

The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt.

By contrast, the power output of the solar panels of Mars Spirit -- on a different part of the Red Planet -- had dropped to just 400 watt-hours a day, clogged by the heavy dust.

"These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape," the magazine quoted NASA rover team leader Jim Erickson as saying.

12/21/04 14:10

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That is really something else. I wonder what phenomenon is causing that to happen? Is it stronger wind currents or a different sort of dirt particle that doesn't cling as easily as it does where the other probe is?


hango fett
12-22-2004, 11:36 AM
cool! maybe there is life out there....who knows..

12-22-2004, 08:23 PM
I suspect it'll turn out to be something in the atmosphere depolarizing or de-ionizing the panels or something like that -- Mars: the great Swiffer mop in the sky. Still, pretty nifty little trick, too bad they couldn't have figured out a way to have them do this on their own.

12-23-2004, 02:18 AM
That's why I go back there. I mean besides to visit my parents. But I mean there are no other kids to play with, so I might as well clean the darn thing while I'm just hanging around there.

12-23-2004, 12:01 PM
I kinda always thought you were from Mars... ;)

12-23-2004, 12:18 PM
Well, of course, don't you know, Men are from Mars! ;)

12-23-2004, 12:29 PM
And I keep trying to get to Venus.

Exhaust Port
12-23-2004, 09:22 PM
"It's all ball bearings now a days." - famous quote from a famous movie. :)

12-24-2004, 08:16 PM
I wonder how much Nasa is paying for the rover-wash each day.Probably some poor alien kid trying to earn a buck by keeping it all nice and shiney :) Maybe if we're lucky he'll FedEx it back with his cleaning bill ;-)

12-25-2004, 01:32 AM
AAhhh Squeegee Men, and on Mars? Boy those guys are verywhere.