Mystery Martian cleans US space buggy



  1. Mystery Martian cleans US space buggy

    An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two US rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said.

    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.
    more here (short article) http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...2/s1270252.htm

    Okay - anyone else hearing the music from the "Twilight Zone"????

    Now if the buggy is cleaned does that make the martians male (because it is a vehicle) or female (because it is the solar panels that are being cleaned)??
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   donmurray
    Perhaps Beagle made it down after all, and is sniffing around, wagging its tail...
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    I love it!
    Last month on a panel JPL and NASA scientists only claimed it was the wind.
  5. by   Katnip
    I thought there wasn't that much in the way of wind up there. And if there is, why is it cleaned only when it's shut down?

    This is interesting.
  6. by   z's playa
    :chuckle
  7. by   donmurray
    Elvis!
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    See my Avitar?

    I think it's SANTA!
  9. by   gwenith
    SSSHHHHH But there is now reported to be a picture in the notorious "blue book" files showing a green hand and a rag wiping the panel clean. NASA is currently discussing how much to tip a Martian.
  10. by   donmurray
    It's a little known fact that there are two kinds of Martian. The Commoners, and the less numerous Rary, Commoners dislike anything to do with finances, but the Rarys don't mind.
    That said.....








    "It's a long way to tip a Rary!"
  11. by   Morguein
    We should do a poll on this. How many of you believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life? I do.
  12. by   gwenith
    Quote from donmurray
    It's a little known fact that there are two kinds of Martian. The Commoners, and the less numerous Rary, Commoners dislike anything to do with finances, but the Rarys don't mind.
    That said.....








    "It's a long way to tip a Rary!"
    OUCH!!! She says holding her nose.

    Perhaps they are some kind of little woolly microbes - you know Mars Baas!!
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    I still vote for Santa or BEM's.
    My Dad voted for Mr. Bluster. If you know what that is about you are old!

    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6824
    23 December 2004

    ...But the mystery of why only Opportunity has been cleaned remains. The answer might lie in the nature of the two rovers' missions. Spirit has been prospecting in an area called Columbia Hills, while Opportunity has been exploring the wall of Endurance crater.

    While climbing, Opportunity spent a lot of time with its solar panels tilted, which could have caused any dust to tumble off. And the researchers suspect the shape of the crater may encourage the development of dust devils or other wind patterns that could help scrub the panels.

    If the crater does provide a natural, wind-driven car wash then Opportunity's days as a clean machine could be at an end. On 12 December, it drove out of the crater to explore the terrain beyond. "If in three or four months Opportunity is still operating and hasn't had another power boost that would suggest the crater was the key," Erickson says.

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