Solar emissions can electrify Martian satellites

Solar emissions can electrify Martian satellites

Phobos - the largest of the two Martian moons

Recent studies show that powerful stellar eruptions can electrically charge areas on the Martian satellite Phobos to hundreds of volts. This forms a complex electrical environment that can affect the robotic technology.

Phobos is considered as a possible base for the study of colonists of the red planet. The idea is for astronauts to control rovers from a satellite without delay, which is observed during earth control. Although electric charges do not pose a deadly threat to people, sensitive devices may suffer. Therefore, it is necessary to make protective layers that minimize impact.

Mars has two satellites: Phobos and Deimos. The analysis focused on the first moon, but they expect to see a similar situation on Deimos, since both objects do not have an atmospheric layer.

The impact of the solar wind on Phobos. The new simulation shows that this leads to the formation of a complex electrical environment that statically charges the night side of the satellite.

When the solar wind hits the day side, the surface absorbs the plasma and creates a void on the night side. Electrons are lighter than ions, so they move in front of them and disappear on the opposite side.

Unfortunately, models show that moving astronauts and rovers can create friction and accumulate charges in space suits and surfaces. Dust and rock are bad conductors, so the charge does not return back to the satellite and accumulates on the person. On the day side you can relieve this tension, but on the night side it is impossible. Calculations show that static charge can reach 10,000 volts. The largest portions of charge come with ejection of coronal mass.

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