Fine Particles on Mars: Observations with the Viking 1 Lander Cameras

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Science  01 Oct 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4260, pp. 87-91
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4260.87


Drifts of fine-grained sediment are present in the vicinity of the Viking 1 lander. Many drifts occur in the lees of large boulders. Morphologic analysis indicates that the last dynamic event was one of general deflation for at least some drifts. Particle cohesion implies that there is a distinct small-particle upturn in the threshold velocity-particle size curve; the apparent absence of the most easily moved particles (150 micrometers in diameter) may be due to their preferential transport to other regions or their preferential collisional destruction. A twilight rescan with lander cameras indicates a substantial amount of red dust with mean radius on the order of 1 micrometer in the atmosphere.