What’s It Like to Be on Venus or Pluto? We Studied Their Sand Dunes and Found Some Clues

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the Moon or Mars? When Sputnik 1 was launched 65 years ago, interest in exploring space grew rapidly after that and it gave rise to many discoveries.

But we are only trying to know how the land of other planets of the solar system is like, if we can go there then how can it feel. Nature Astronomy A new study of ours has been published in. It tells that from the sand dunes present on the land of other planets, it can be found out how a person might feel if they were standing on the surface of another planet, or what the weather conditions might be there.

What is a grain of sand? The English poet William Blake wondered what it means to have the world covered in a grain of sand. We have taken this principle deeply in our research. The purpose was to understand what conditions could arise on the land of another planet if there were sand dunes.

In order for there to be sand dunes on other planets, it is very important to have some things. First of all, it is necessary to have particles that can break with time but are also durable for some time. There the speed of the winds should be at least high enough that the sand particles can rise above the ground and float in the air, but not so fast that they can blow them up and take them high in the atmosphere.

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So far, direct measurement of winds and sand particles has been possible only on Earth and Mars. We have seen that the particles blown with the wind also reach other bodies through satellite (even comets). The presence of sand dunes on these bodies indicates that Goldilocks conditions are being formed.

We did our work taking into account Venus, Earth, Mars, Titan, Triton (Neptune’s largest moon) and Pluto. The debate about these celestial bodies has been going on for decades, which has not reached any conclusion.

How do we find such sand dunes on the surface of Mars, when we know that the wind there is not strong enough to blow the sand particles with them. Does Venus’s dense and hard atmosphere move sand particles in the same way that water and wind move on Earth? Our study has estimated the kind of winds needed to carry sand particles with them in such places, and how these particles would break in these winds.

We have made this estimate by combining the results of other research papers, and tested them with all the experimental data. After that, we tried this theory on all the 6 planets, we took pictures of them on the telescope and included factors like the composition of the gravity atmosphere, surface temperature and the strength of the particles.

In the studies that have come before us, it has been seen that either there is a minimum wind speed or there is a power of these particles, which can carry them from one place to another. But we combined these two factors together to see how easily particles break up in the atmospheres of these planets.

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According to the results we have for Mars, there are more mud storms on Mars that form such dunes than on Earth. This means that our model of Mars’ atmosphere is not able to effectively capture the powerful catabatic winds of Mars, which are cold gusts that move through the night.

We found that even on Pluto, the winds would be strong enough to carry methane or nitrogen ice with them. This begs the question whether the sand dunes on Pluto’s surface, called Sputnik Plancia, are really mounds!

Instead they will be sublimation waves. They will be mounds of land that appear to have formed from matter turning into a liquid, not solid particles flying through the air.


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