20-EPN2-112: Aeolian saltation at Martian pressures and below
April 17, 2023

20-EPN2-112: Aeolian saltation at Martian pressures and below

Visit by Philippe Claudin, PMMH – ESPCI – CNRS, Paris (France) to TA2.4 Planetary Environment Facilities (PEF), AU (Denmark)
Dates of visit: 30 May – 3 June 2022

Understanding the conditions required for initiating and sustaining sand motion on Mars is important for determining wind strengths required for mobilizing widespread ripples and dunes. Our previous experimental campaign in the planetary laboratory facility of Aarhus has provided evidence for a lower than expected transport threshold and for the emergence of impact ripples at Martian-like pressures. This time, we have made use of a new grain injector set-up at the entrance of the bed, which allowed us to trigger saltation with grains impacting with the granular surface, and therefore to mimic an effective longer bed. Even with a relatively low injection rate, we were able to reach a saturated sediment flux at the bed outlet, characterised by a neutral bed (no erosion nor deposition), whereas a purely erosive regime is always observed at vanishing injection. We could measure this saturated flux varying wind velocity in Martian conditions and found that transport can be sustained at even lower values than previously reported. With the analysis of the erosion profile along the bed, we shall furthermore be able to extract the saturation length. Finally, we recorded movies of grain motion close to the bed with a high-speed camera, which will allow us to study the properties of grain trajectories in the saturated state.

Read the full scientific report, with kind permission from Philippe Claudin.