Electrical Breakdown Caused by Dust Motion in Low-Pressure Atmospheres: Considerations for Mars

Science  01 Jun 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4089, pp. 962-963
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4089.962


Electrification of agitated dust can cause visible breakdown in a carbon dioxide atmosphere at low pressure in a laboratory experiment. Dust storms on earth become electrified, with accompanying breakdown phenomena. Martian dust storms may reduce the atmospheric conductivity by capturing fast ions on particles, and, by electrifying, may cause discharges in the relatively low pressure atmosphere.