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Computer Modeling of Sand Transport on Mars Using a Compart-Mentalized Fluids Algorithm (CFA)It has been postulated that aeolian transport on Mars may be significantly different from that on Earth. From laboratory experiments simulating martian grain transport [2], it has been observed that (saltating) grains striking the bed can cause hundreds of secondary reptation trajectories when impact occurs at speeds postulated for Mars. Some of the ballistically induced trajectories "die ouf' and effectively join the ranks on the creep population that is merely nudged along by impact. Many of the induced reptation trajectories, however, are sufficiently high for the grains to become part of the saltation load (it is irrelevant to the boundary layer how a grain attained its initial lift force). When these grains, in turn, strike the surface, they too are capable of inducing more reptating grains. This cascading effect has been discussed in connection with terrestrial aeolian transport in an attempt to dispel the notion that sand motion is divisible only into creep and saltation loads. On Earth, only a few grains are splashed by impact. On Mars, it may be hundreds. We developed a computer model to address this phenomenon because there are some important ramifications: First, this ratio may mean that martian aeolian transport is dominated by reptation flux rather than saltation. On Earth, the flux would be a roughly balanced mixture between reptation/creep and saltation. On Venus, there would be no transport other than by saltation. In other words, an understanding of planetary aeolian processes may not be necessarily understood by extrapolating from the "Earth case", with only gravity and atmospheric density/viscosity being considered as variables. Second, the reptation flux on Mars may be self sustaining, so that little input is required by the wind once transport has been initiated. The number of grains saturating the boundary layer near the bed may mean that average grain speed on Mars might conceivably be less than that on Earth. This would say much for models of sand comminution on Mars. A multiple-grain transport model using just the equations of grain motion describing lift and drag is impossible to develop owing to stochastic effects --the very effects we wish to model. Also, unless we were to employ supercomputing techniques and extremely complex computer codes that could deal with millions of grains simultaneously, it would also be difficult to model grain transport if we attempted to consider every grain in motion. No existing computer models were found that satisfactorily used the equations of motion to arrive at transport flux numbers for the different populations of saltation and reptation. Modeling all the grains in a transport system was an intractable problem within our resources, and thus we developed what we believe to be a new modeling approach to simulating grain transport. The CFA deals with grain populations, but considers them to belong to various compartmentalized fluid units in the boundary layer. In this way, the model circumvents the multigrain problem by dealing primarily with the consequences of grain transport --momentum transfer between air and grains, which is the physical essence of a dynamic grain-fluid mixture. We thus chose to model the aeolian transport process as a superposition of fluids. These fluids include the air as well as particle populations of various properties. The prime property distinguishing these fluids is upward and downward grain motion. In a normal saltation trajectory, a grain's downwind velocity increases with time, so a rising grain will have a smaller downwind velocity than a failing grain. Because of this disparity in rising and falling grain proper-ties, it seemed appropriate to track these as two separate grain populations within the same physical space. The air itself can be considered a separate fluid superimposed within and interacting with the various grain-cloud "fluids". Additional informaiton is contained in the original.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Marshall, J. (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Stratton, D. (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Studies of Mineralogical and Textural Properties of Martian Soil: An Exobiological Perspective
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Meeting Information
Lunar and Planetary Science(Houston, TX)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.