Journal Highlights

Aeolian Saltation on Mars at Low Wind Speeds

Editor’s Highlight—

 

There has been a long-standing discrepancy between (i) low wind speeds on Mars as observed by landed instruments and predicted by numerical atmospheric models, as well as a high friction speed threshold for saltation on Mars determined by wind tunnel simulations, and (ii) evidence for high wind speed occurrences from observations of bedform migration, small and large dust storms, and the deposition and removal of accumulated fines (including saltated sand grains) on the meter-high decks of landed rovers. This work describes how aeolian activity can be both initiated and sustained at wind strengths below the canonical threshold friction speed, likely resolving this major discrepancy.