What the heck am I talking about? I decided to take on the Up-Goer Five Challenge of explaining my science using the top ten hundred most used words in the English language (hint: “thousand” is not one of them). So here I tackle a major component of my Ph.D. Thesis. I cheat a tiny amount and use quotation marks to denote special terms (that is, words not in the top ten hundred list). Enjoy, and try it for yourself here!
Small Rock-Type Stuff to Form Water Ice on the Red Body “Mars”
This paper looks at how water ice forms in the sky on the red body that is in space, called ‘Mars’. On ‘Mars’ and the body where we live, ‘Earth’, there is this small rock-type stuff that you add to most foods called ‘salt’ (not the sweet stuff). There are many kinds of ‘salt’. Ice can form in the air on ‘salt’ on ‘Earth’. Water ice will form on whatever things where it most easily can form. Earlier studies looked at how well water ice forms on other things in the air, like small pieces of rock called ‘dust’. In this work, we try to form water ice on different types of things to see if it will form better on stuff like ‘dust’ or better on different types of ‘salt’.
We took a box and made it cold and light in air, like it is in the ‘Mars’ sky. One type of ‘salt’ (called ‘sodium’ ‘perchlorate’), which is seen on the ground of ‘Mars’, is thought to cause wet water to happen on the ground of ‘Mars’ so many people are interested in it. We found that the ‘salt’ ‘sodium’ ‘perchlorate’ made it easier to have water ice form in air that is like the sky of ‘Mars’. It was easier to form water ice on this ‘salt’ than it was ‘dust’ (or the best type of ‘dust’ for forming water ice, ‘clay’ ‘dust’), which is what people who study ‘Mars’ think of as what helps form water ice in the sky of ‘Mars’. If the ‘salt’ ‘sodium’ ‘perchlorate’ is in the sky of ‘Mars’, it may help more big water ice things (‘clouds’) form in the sky of ‘Mars’.