Mars Regolith as a Natural Low Pressure Gas-Pump Studied in a μg-Experiment (MAREG)

research area: astrophysics

experiment title:

Mars Regolith as a Natural Low Pressure Gas-Pump Studied in a μg-Experiment. (Quantifying the gas flow through small channels induced by thermal creep)

experiment acronym: MAREG

funding agency: DLR

grant number: 50WM1542

performing organization:

Faculty of Physics, University of Duisburg-Essen

prime investigator:

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wurm, Dr. Jens Teiser

experiment objective


Particle movement on the martian surface is still a mystery since wind speed is not nearly fast enough to lift the particles in a low pressure environment like the one on mars (2-6 mbars). An important component to solve this problem might be an upward lift through the porous surface. This upward lift is induced by a gas flow throuh a porous medium that will induce a gas flow if a thermal gradient is applied and the pressure is in the right range. The lifting force peaks when the ratio between the mean free path of the gas molecules and the size of a pore is at 1 (Knudsen Nr.). This is why observation on earth is problematic but the effect might be crucial for particle movement on mars. In this experiment we want to quantify the gas flow not through an irregular dust sample but a fixed geometry like multiple channels or junctions etc.

related publications

  • C. de Beule, G. Wurm, T. Kelling, M. Kuepper, T. Jankowski, and J. Teiser, The Martian Soil as a Planetary Gas Pump, Nature Physics, 10, 17-20, 2014

experiment campaigns

experiment year: 2016
number of catapult launches: 16

experiment year: 2015
number of catapult launches: 5