back to article All that dust on Mars is coming from one weird giant alien structure

Have you ever wondered where Mars got all that striking iron-rich rust-colored dust from? Weirdly enough, it appears it is mostly drawn from a formation on its surface called the Medusae Fossae, a single geological object that is slowly crumbling and scattering debris all over the Red Planet. The formation stretches for about …

  1. Joe Werner

    Solar panels...

    And here at the coast we have the problem of the "white, di-electric material" accumulating on them (saw a report about a bird research station on one of the islands - one of the regular tasks is to remove the guano from the solar panels...)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solar panels...

      Well in my house most of the dust seems to be found in teenager's bedrooms so the only logical explanation is that dust on Mars comes from a collection of giant orangey red but somehow invisible teenage Martians and that Mars is their bedroom.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Solar panels...

      "at the coast we have the problem of the "white, di-electric material" accumulating on them "

      At the coast you have plenty of a certain ionic liquid that can be used to remove it. Potability isn't a requirement as long as all the wiring is correctly marinised

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Alien

    Well, I guess a Hoover is out of the question to clean the place up.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      So... a Dyson?

      1. wallaby

        "So... a Dyson?"

        No more mains powered ones being made, imagine the number of recharges needed - impractical IMHO

        1. jmch Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          A Dyson vacuum cleaner powered by a Dyson sphere

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Dyson should be sent to Mars, together with all other Brexiteers.

            Why the hate? He’s the man promoting Brexit yet relocated all his UK manufacturing to Malaysia.

            Also his innovations are mainly expensive toys for the boys - nothing worse and potentially dangerous than his washroom dryers that spray back other people’s leftovers into yer face.

        2. Steve K Silver badge

          No more mains powered ones being made, imagine the number of recharges needed - impractical IMHO

          So you're recommending an extension cord? Won't it get tangled around the sun?

          1. Martin Budden

            @Steve K

            I have small kids, and the extension cord often gets tangled around my son.

            :-S

            1. Pete4000uk

              Re: @Steve K

              By accident, I'm sure?

          2. Eltonga
            Trollface

            So you're recommending an extension cord? Won't it get tangled around the sun?

            Man you are so outdated... what was wireless charging invented for, anyway?

        3. 's water music Silver badge

          "So... a Dyson?"

          No more mains powered ones being made, imagine the number of recharges needed - impractical IMHO

          perhaps the PP meant a containment solution an, if you will, sphere?

        4. Tom Paine Silver badge

          My shiny new Dyson BigBall* seems to, well, exist. And it has a plug on it.

          * IKR

      2. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Did we all have the same thought??

        Waits to see how may other Dyson posts get shown..

        1. Ben Bonsall

          As long as they upgrade the Ball to a Sphere.

          1. Shock&Awesome

            As long as they upgrade the Ball to a Flat Plane.

            FTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just sweep it all into the Valles Marineris.

    3. VinceH Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "Well, I guess a Hoover is out of the question to clean the place up."

      Tsk. A Hoover. Silly boy.

      You're quite clearly missing the obvious - we've sent rovers to Mars, so it needs to be a cleaner with roving ability to combine the two tasks. We should build the next rover around a Roomba.

    4. Artaxerxes

      Just need a bigger Hoover thats all.

      http://spaceballs.wikia.com/wiki/Mega_Maid

    5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Trollface

      "Well, I guess a Hoover is out of the question to clean the place up."

      Nah! Roomba Rover.

    6. Xpositor

      Would a "vacuum" cleaner even work on Mars?

      1. Killfalcon Bronze badge

        "Would a "vacuum" cleaner even work on Mars?"

        There's air pressure, so it would work - the pressure gradient won't be as strong so it won't work as well as the same vacuum would on earth, mind.

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        >Would a "vacuum" cleaner even work on Mars?

        Yes, it'd suck

      3. Pseudonymous Howard

        Since Mars has an atmosphere you won't find a vacuum to clean. Maybe one should better use a Staubsauger. It cannot clean a vacuum, but it sucks dust. A vacuum cleaner could be something for those physics boffins, who so often need those spaces with a vacuum, no friction and exactly 20°C.

    7. WhatsData2U
      Boffin

      Blow it up

      I think you're all on the wrong track. Vacuum it to put it where? This is the perfect opportunity to test mega solar power projects - think solar cyclone fans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blow it up

        " Vacuum it to put it where?"

        Into another dimension - whose inhabitants might object though.

  3. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    1993

    Just get Roger Wilco with the SCS Eureka to suck it all up.

    1. Jamesit

      Re: 1993

      sounds like a great job for Mega-Maid!!

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: 1993

        Oh come on, Mars has _already_ got a "thin atmosphere" problem - and you want to make it even worse...? Remember, if you flip the reverse switch even trees go right back where they were so certainly dust would too...

      2. Come to the Dark Side

        Re: 1993

        "sounds like a great job for Mega-Maid!!"

        Just makes sure she's set to suck and not blow!

        1. kventin
          Coat

          Just makes sure she's set to suck and not blow!

          so the maid does a great suck job instead of a great...

          nevermind

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Pyramids!

    Sutekh: Your evil is my good. I'm Sutekh the Destroyer. Where I tread, I leave nothing but dust and darkness. I find that good.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Pyramids!

      Planetary trolling: place an Ozymandias "foot" sculpture in the middle of the wasteland, with the words on it, and nothing else. Imagine archaeologists of the future rack their brains on where any other trace of this clearly magnificent ancient civilization could possibly have disappeared that thoroughly...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pyramids!

        Planetary. Trolling. Please accept your prize

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oncoming Scorn

      Thumbs up for Tom Baker reference.

  5. GreggS

    Not just astronauts

    Nobody wants dust getting in their equipment! Ouch!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone even bother to get comments from Giorgio A. Tsoukalos?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not saying it was aliens... but it was aliens.

      The guy that liked aliens so much he adoped the Centauri hairstyle? That's about the only thing I know about him- his hair and that meme.

  7. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    I'll bet Elon Musk is already tweeting about building a solar-scale vacuum cleaner to clean up Mars...

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Elon Musk

      Let him start with cleaning up his own brain.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Elon Musk

        UPDATE: He's sent a miniature submarine equipped with a vacuum to Mars on a SpaceX rocket and called the Martian locals pedos.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: Elon Musk

          CORRECTION: Elon built a vacuum cleaner* from salvaging a useless miniature submarine that no one neither wanted nor needed. And he called Matt Damon a pedo.

          *For future reference, noun: the musk (plural: musks); verb: to musk (muskt, muskt); use: "have you muskt the Martian dust?"

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Elon Musk

            a useless miniature submarine

            It wasn't so much a submarine as a bathysphere, since it wasn't self-powered.

            And it wasn't so much a bathysphere as a bathycylinder, I suppose.

            But, yes, useless.

  8. Flywheel Silver badge

    something else is to blame for the large swathes of dust

    I think we're missing the point here - it looks like a (potentially) extinct civilisation made so much pollution that the planet ended up being totally covered in it, and the inhabitants died out.

    Hopefully our planet won't be found in millions of years covered by a "mysterious layer of plastic" and a single solar-powered soft-drinks machine still spewing it out.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: something else is to blame for the large swathes of dust

      a single solar-powered soft-drinks machine still spewing it out.

      A Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer that's gotten its head stuck in a pig into an infinite loop.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: something else is to blame for the large swathes of dust

        It's the Lintilla cloning machine, not the Nutrimat

  9. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alien

    Iron rich dust..

    "Weirdly enough, it appears it is mostly drawn from a formation on its surface called the Medusae Fossae, a single geological object that is slowly crumbling and scattering debris all over the Red Planet."

    So THAT'S where that billion year-old mothership crashed...

  10. Ochib

    "I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere"

  11. spold Bronze badge

    Medusae Fossae? You're pulling my plonker that is so made up!

    Until they deal with the giant space rabbit that is excreting carrot dust everywhere (the "root" of the problem as they say) then we are unlikely to see any improvement.

    Don't make up geological excuses deal with the Space Bunny!

  12. Gobhicks

    If you really want

    To terraform Mars

    Who you gonna call?

    Dustbusters!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you really want

      To terraform Mars

      Who you gonna call?

      Dustbusters!

      have a downvote for the terrible joke......

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        have a downvote for the terrible joke......

        Did I misread the commentards rule book? I thought we were supposed to upvote terrible jokes. The worse, the more upvotes. Time to go dig my copy out and re-read it.

        1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

          Did I misread the commentards rule book? I thought we were supposed to upvote terrible jokes. The worse, the more upvotes. Time to go dig my copy out and re-read it.

          well, it was so bad, it had gone past so bad that it was good bad, well into the realms of Tim Vine....

  13. Ghostghost

    Oi

    I was reading that

  14. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Gravel Roads - same thing really...

    "...a whopping 2.9 × 10^12 kilograms of dust..."

    Puh... We bring in ten truck loads of gravel at 10t each, and within a week it's all been ground to dust and then blown away. Bits of Uluru start poking through the road surface again; which says a lot since we're in Canada. Our 800m gravel road apparently puts as much dust into the Earth's atmosphere as the Sahara.

  15. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    No need to worry ...

    “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four (million) years the dirt doesn't get any worse.” - Quentin Crisp

  16. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Moon.

    Also dusty, also no sea, and less atmosphere.

    Still nowt there.

  17. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    If an astronaut is inhaling Martian dust he/she has bigger problems than the dust.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you back into the spaceship until you remove all that dust from your suit"

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Bah!

        Yes Rimmer

  18. G R Goslin

    Pollution?

    Enough with this Pollution, already. Strictly, Pollution only refers to a result of, largely, human action, which results in a resource being denied to those same human beings, through their own actions. Applying the articles criteria, we could consider the seas polluted with salt, the Arctic polluted by ice. Again, strictly, the only major pollutant, on Earth, is Oxygen, a result of life processes. No other body in the entire Solar System, has Oxygen as more than a trace gas. As for Carbon Dioxide. Pah! a mere drop in the bucket, entirely due to those same biological processes. The red dust of mars, in no more a pollutant, than is the Loess of China, the sand isles of the East Australian coast, and many other situations all over the planet.

    1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: Pollution?

      Of course it has been "polluted" as the universe revolves and was created for, the needs of man (sarcasm).

      Therefore, only another lifeform could have screwed this up.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Pollution?

      Strictly, Pollution only refers to a result of, largely, human action

      Who, pray tell, do you think establishes or enforces this stricture?

      Even leaving aside the patent absurdity of prescriptivism in English usage, your "strict" definition isn't supported by contemporary common use, historical use, or etymology. It might be true for "pollution" as a term of art in a particular discipline, but beyond that (and this article was not a technical paper) it's purely your opinion, as far as I can see.

  19. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Alien

    So it wasn't...

    So it wasn't the face on Mars that's responsible for all that dust then?

    Man, I thought it really was the aliens.

  20. eldakka Silver badge
    Pirate

    Have you ever wondered where Mars got all that striking iron-rich rust-colored dust from?

    With questions like:

    • where'd the Martians go?
    • where's all the water?
    • what happened to the canals?
    • is there sub-surface liquid water?
    • is there any life on mars at all?
    • how can we colonise it?
    • when will man first step foot on mars (if it hasn't already, queue conspiracy theories)?

    I can honestly say that no, I've never wondered where all the dust came from.

    (Icon because I hope we 'board' mars soon).

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "when will man first step foot on mars (if it hasn't already, queue conspiracy theories)?"

      That's right! We haven't been to the moon, because MSM claims we have. (And a few others too)

      But since we claim not to have been to Mars, we have actually been there in secret.

      It all makes sense now...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So my understanding from all this is that, rather than those old school solar panels, the next rover is going to need a mini-wind turbine... :o)

  22. Splork

    Spaceballs to the Rescue

    Please contact Lord Dark Helmet. We need the giant Spaceballs vacuum maid to clean this mess up. While they're at it, maybe they leave a little more atmosphere on Mars. They just have to switch from "suck" to "blow."

  23. Alister Silver badge

    Doctor,

    You know when you sealed the rift in the Medusa Cascade...

    Did you forget the back door?

  24. BernardL

    Dust

    So has anyone established yet whether you can grow spuds in it?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Dust

      I saw a documentary about that, it was full of shit.

  25. KR Caddis

    Why not simply wet the whole place down again? Plant trees and lawn.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dust that permeates everything on Mars and the moon seems to be characteristic of the dead (as in being bereft of living matter) regolith of most bodies in the solar system. It's actually a serious problem for any plans for long term stays on the surface because it gets into important stuff like the joints of space suits and degrades their ability to maintain the pressure necessary to keep human alive. Like life threatening solar and cosmic radiation, dust is one of those considerations that usually gets a hand-wave from proponents of colonization.

  27. snooty

    Is NASA looking for life on Mars ...in fact is anybody ?...Do they know something and we are not being told ...like the Martian meteorite fiasco

  28. xyz

    isn't this the plot from....

    Mission to Mars where they fire a radar at some mountain, mountain goes apeshit, dust flies everywhere and a giant alien face is exposed

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