There are Puns and Punishment
And that heading is the latter. The machine-pun approach does not befit El Reg. It may lead to negative feelings, sparks may fly, charges may be laid.
Strong solar eruptions may be blasting the Martian moon Phobos with an avalanche of electrically charged particles, charging parts of it to hundreds of volts, and hampering attempts to land on and study the alien landscape. Interest in human spaceflight to Mars has ramped up as scientists keep finding promising signs that the …
(apologies to TOS fans)
Also this is intriguing. Could the same effect be responsible for lunar luminosity events (aka TLEs) where some mineral or other charges up and emits light in the near vacuum like a phosphor on a VFD?
This could be an effective way to prove existence of said mineral(s) on the Moon, Mars and Phobos.
(VFD=Vacuum Fluorescent Display)
Hmm... an electrical charge can only build up on an insulator, and from the article, it seems that the build-up of a charge will be due to charged particles of dust adhering to the outside of the space suit, so why not make the outer layer of the suit conductive1, make 'Phobosing' yourself via suitably positioned grounding points SOP and design everything that's intended to operate on Phobos with this in mind.
In the context of problems with working on Phobos, this seems like a relatively minor one.
1. I'm sure some people will instinctively think that a conductive outer layer on a space suit is potentially dangerous because it could lead to short-circuits but they should remember that a) our bodies are already conductive and b) there's no reason to design stuff with exposed electrics.
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