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BYU helping NASA prep for human mission to Mars

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, speaks during a mission briefing for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Researchers at Brigham Young University are helping with the NASA-sponsored project measuring the electrical charge and size of dust particles on Mars.

PROVO, Utah >> Researchers at Brigham Young University are helping with a NASA-sponsored project measuring the electrical charge and size of dust particles on Mars.

The Deseret News reports the BYU group is nearing completion of the three-year project that hopes to understand the climate of the Red Planet and the impact the dust has on materials sent to its surface.

BYU professor Shiuh-hua Wood Chiang says the project began two years ago after NASA asked universities across the country for a Mars dust analyzer proposal.

Chiang says dust tends to stick on the solar panels of Mars rovers and reduce the power generation capabilities.

He says researchers need to understand how the dust particles may affect future instruments and life support systems on Mars.

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