Dust 'floats' above lunar surface—electrostatic dust transport reshapes surfaces of airless planetary bodies

Dust “floats” above lunar surface—electrostatic dust transport reshapes surfaces of airless planetary bodies
Credit: NASA

As millions on Earth enjoy a spectacular view of a supermoon on Dec. 14, a NASA-funded research team is reviewing the results of recent laboratory experiments that explain why dust "levitates" on the moon.

The research by a member of NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), hosted by NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, explains how may be transporting across vast regions above the and rings of Saturn, without winds or flowing water.

Learning about these fundamental processes is helping scientists understand how dust and static electricity behave on airless bodies, and how they affect surface mechanical and electrical systems. This and other SSERVI research is helping NASA address key strategic knowledge gaps for airless bodies such as asteroids or the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, which are likely stepping stones along our journey to Mars.

The study builds on observations from the Apollo era to the recent Rosetta comet mission, and brings to closure a long-standing question about electrostatic dust transport seen on the moon and other airless planetary bodies. The research was conducted at the Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust at the University of Colorado Boulder, and was published recently in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters.

The phenomenon shows up as high-altitude ray-pattern streamers above the lunar surface reported by Apollo astronauts, as well as intermittently appearing radial spokes first seen by the Voyager spacecraft over the rings of Saturn, and the fine dust deposits, or "dust ponds" in craters on Eros. These are all the examples of dust transporting across vast regions without winds or flowing water. Scientists believed electrostatic dust processes could explain these space observations, but until now there were no studies to support these explanations.

Mihaly Horanyi at the University of Colorado in Boulder and his team recorded micron-sized jumping several centimeters high under ultraviolet (UV) radiation or exposure to plasmas. On Earth's moon, these dust particles would have been lofted more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) above the lunar surface, leading researchers to conclude that the moon's "horizon glow"—seen in images taken by Surveyor 5, 6, and 7 five decades ago—may have been caused in part by sunlight scattering in a cloud of electrostatically lofted dust particles.

"This new 'patched charge model' resolved a fundamental mechanism of dust charging and transport, which has been puzzling scientists for decades," said Xu Wang, the paper's first author.

One of the key science findings is that the emission and re-absorption of photo/secondary electrons at the walls of micro-cavities formed between neighboring dust particles can generate unexpectedly large electrical charges and intense particle-particle repulsive forces. This can cause dust particles to move and lift off the surface, or "levitate." And not just single-sized dust particles—large aggregates can be lofted as well.

"We expect dust particles to mobilize and transport electrostatically over the entire lunar surface, as well as the surface of any other airless planetary body," Wang said. "If so, electrostatic dust activity may be also responsible for the degradation of retroreflectors on the lunar surface."

The laboratory observations also showed dusty surfaces becoming smooth as a consequence of dust mobilization. These electrostatic dust processes could help to explain the formation of the "dust ponds" on asteroid Eros and comet 67P, and the unexpectedly smooth surface on Saturn's icy satellite Atlas.


Explore further

Static electricity may transport dust across airless planetary bodies

More information: For more information about SSERVI and select member teams, visit sservi.nasa.gov X. Wang et al. Dust charging and transport on airless planetary bodies, Geophysical Research Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069491 , onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10 … 02/2016GL069491/full
Journal information: Geophysical Research Letters

Provided by NASA
Citation: Dust 'floats' above lunar surface—electrostatic dust transport reshapes surfaces of airless planetary bodies (2016, December 15) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-12-lunar-surfaceelectrostatic-reshapes-surfaces-airless.html
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Dec 15, 2016
Well, we do live in an Electric Universe. Nice to see someone actually relies on laboratory experimentation. jonesdumb will however have a hissy fit as he insists "electric woo", such as this display of electric discharge, is impossible.

Dec 15, 2016
Well, we do live in an Electric Universe. Nice to see someone actually relies on laboratory experimentation. jonesdumb will however have a hissy fit as he insists "electric woo", such as this display of electric discharge, is impossible.


Lol. Anything with a word containing the suffix 'electro' and cantthink gets aroused! Nothing to do with your stupid and debunked EU woo. Has been suggested for decades. Long before Wallace & Gromit came along. For instance:

'On the electrostatic charging of the cometary nucleus.'
Mendis, D. A., et al. (1981)
http://adsabs.har...49..787M

And, more recently:

'Surface charging and electrostatic dust acceleration at the nucleus of comet 67P during periods of low activity.'
Nordheim, T. A., et al. (2015)
http://www.scienc...1500238X

Of course, anyone who was following this sort of work would already have those papers, and not need it pointing out to them.

Dec 15, 2016
I once read about a way to harvest energy on the moon from solar wind charged particles with MHD arrays on crater rims. I wonder if there isn't a way to do this with lunar dust? Perhaps in valleys or mountain passes that channel this dust movement, or even on vehicles driving through it.

"A novel energy harvesting concept is proposed for treating local electrostatic energy produced on flying composite aircrafts. This work focuses on the feasibility research on collecting static charges with capacitive collectors."

Dec 15, 2016
From the article: ".....and was published recently in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters."

More correctly - was published on 25 June 2016. Click bait for the EU acolytes? Or has it been covered at the ongoing AGU meeting in San Francisco?
http://onlinelibr...491/full

Strange timing.

Dec 15, 2016
Or has it been covered at the ongoing AGU meeting in San Francisco?


And, to answer myself, it will be presented tomorrow.
https://agu.confe...r/128876

Funny thing, though; I searched that paper, as well as the Mendis & Nordheim papers that I referenced previously, and not once is the word 'discharge' mentioned.

Dec 15, 2016
@jonesdave
anyone who was following this sort of work would already have those papers
thanks for linking those

.

.

@nazi sypathizing eu cult preacher
Nice to see someone actually relies on laboratory experimentation
you mean like this? http://phys.org/n...ics.html

and this? http://www.pppl.gov/node/857

or this? http://solar.nro....-246.pdf

or this? http://digital.li...6405.pdf

repeating your eu pseudoscience lie doesn't make it more true
neither does making an ASSumption about astrophysicists without evidence because you've fallen prey to a con man promoting a cult religion

Dec 15, 2016
Funny thing, though; I searched that paper, as well as the Mendis & Nordheim papers that I referenced previously, and not once is the word 'discharge' mentioned.

Exactly where is the "electric discharge'?

I don't know what is so confusing, in plain English using words less than four syllables;
"Electric discharge describes any flow of electric charge through a gas, liquid or solid."
https://en.m.wiki...ischarge

Using plain English, no limit to syllables, explain just how exactly what is explained in the article does not qualify for electric discharge (as shown by the included definition) in your minds.

Dec 15, 2016

I don't know what is so confusing, in plain English using words less than four syllables;
"Electric discharge describes any flow of electric charge through a gas, liquid or solid."
https://en.m.wiki...ischarge

Using plain English, no limit to syllables, explain just how exactly what is explained in the article does not qualify for electric discharge (as shown by the included definition) in your minds.


And, as I've mentioned before, that is not what the con artists T & T were talking about when they invoked discharges at comets. They were very specific; electric arc discharges, and EDM (lol).
Not a bit of electrostatic repulsion, that has been part of mainstream science for decades. Your definition of electric discharge is so woolly as to be technically useless.


Dec 15, 2016
The observed jets of comets are electric arc discharges to the nucleus, producing "electrical discharge machining" (EDM) of the surface. The excavated material is accelerated into space along the jets' observed filamentary arcs.

Nope. Laughably wrong.

And:

The primary distinction between comet and asteroid surfaces is that electrical
arcing and "electrostatic cleaning" of the comet nucleus will leave little or no
dust or debris on the surface during the active phase.......

Wrong. Loads of dust.

From the electric comet poster by the aforementioned con artists.

Dec 15, 2016
Nice diversion, care to answer the question.

Dec 15, 2016
Nice diversion, care to answer the question.


What question? Why not email the lead author and ask if he considers this to be an electric discharge phenomenon? Take a screenshot of the reply, and post it on an image host and link to it here.
And it wasn't a diversion. I was showing that the sort of discharges that I said were impossible, were not referring to a bit of possible electrostatic dust levitation. I read about that decades ago in regard to the moon and comets. Not exactly news, really.

Dec 16, 2016
I might create my own electric discharge at the pub sometime. Rub one of their pool balls on my sleeve, to charge it up electrostatically, and then chuck it across the room. Job done, electric discharge. And me probably barred for a week.

Dec 16, 2016
Discharges that emit light are observed on the Moon frequently, and we are told that they are from impacts, but as there are no functioning seismic sensors on the Moon we have to take their word for it. When they did have the seismic sensors from the Apollo missions working, there was no activity other than from when they intentionally crashed parts of spacecraft onto the surface. The Moon was seismically silent, as a discharge will suck material off the surface.

Dec 16, 2016
Discharges that emit light are observed on the Moon frequently, and we are told that they are from impacts, but as there are no functioning seismic sensors on the Moon we have to take their word for it. When they did have the seismic sensors from the Apollo missions working, there was no activity other than from when they intentionally crashed parts of spacecraft onto the surface. The Moon was seismically silent, as a discharge will suck material off the surface.


I very much doubt that you will get lightning on the moon. Call it a gut feeling.
And as the Earth is impacted by meteorites on a regular basis, there is no reason why the moon wouldn't be also. And they won't have an atmosphere to burn up in.

Dec 16, 2016
@bschott
i would tell you to link references to help clarify what you're saying

but i can also tell you that the idiot cd won't read them...

Que Sera, Sera

.

but as there are no functioning seismic sensors on the Moon we have to take their word for it
@solon-g to logic
no
we take their word for it because most of them are tracked and thus watched
you know, because we enter micro- and meteoroid swarms regularly, like the Lenoids?

the rest of your post is really just your *opinion* about the science being done

until you can actually validate it with evidence and a peer reviewed study that supports your claims, you're simply seeing eu crap behind every flicker of light

Dec 17, 2016
Neat....however the question wasn't "What is an electric discharge?" So apparently what is confusing is your inability to distinguish between the words "where" and "what".

Here I though if you actually understood what an electric discharge is, then the where would be remarkably obvious.
We do not measure electricity in "grains of dust" .

LOL, nice moronic statement coming from the guy who doesn't even understand the concept of electric charge.
(otherwise a line of fridge magnets would be a "standing current"),

Strawman presented by moron.
electrical discharge is a visible phenomenon (photons are generated during one)

Not surprised you are unfamiliar with dark mode discharge.
The dust grains are not moving through any medium as the moon has no atmosphere.

The moon is immersed in plasma, it too is considered a "medium". I think you've caught a case of the Cap'n Stoopids.

Dec 17, 2016
I might create my own electric discharge at the pub sometime. Rub one of their pool balls on my sleeve, to charge it up electrostatically, and then chuck it across the room.

Good jod, rubbing the cue ball to charge it up does the trick. Chucking it across the bar is just you showing your belligerent personality.

Dec 17, 2016
Just to clear up any confusion from the morons among us, I will explain in plain English.

The solar wind, which in itself is an electric discharge, imparts the electric charges it carries upon the dusty regolith. This transfer of electric charge to the dust is the electrostatic discharge. It's a remarkably simple concept, one learned as a child shuffling one's feet to zap their siblings. Why the confusion? Must be obfuscation or idiocy.

Dec 17, 2016
I very much doubt that you will get lightning on the moon. Call it a gut feeling.

The presence of the electrostatic discharge indicates charge separation, this gives the initial conditions needed to allow for glow/arc discharges. Given the necessary charge density, these events are not only possible but likely. These simple facts are missed by jonesdumb and others.

Dec 17, 2016
Here we go again. The usual nonsense from cantthink. Show me ANY paper on the solar wind that calls it an electric discharge. Show me any paper on electrostatic dust levitation that calls it an electric discharge.
Show me how you get lightning on the moon due to the separation of dust with the SAME charge!
That is what is happening on the moon (possibly), and comets (possibly; at large distances from the Sun), or asteroids (possibly). Where are your lightning bolts?
You are just in a sulk due to the idiot Thornhill being 100% wrong about EDM (lol) at comets. As plenty of people knew he would be. Like other EU evangelicals, you are now reduced to calling upon long known mainstream processes, to try to rescue this idiocy. Along with using a vague and technically useless definition of the term 'electric discharge'.
Like I said, email one of the authors of the papers I linked, and let us know what they say. Even better, why not write a paper setting out this moon lightning idea? As if.

Dec 17, 2016
Show me ANY paper on the solar wind that calls it an electric discharge. Show me any paper on electrostatic dust levitation that calls it an electric discharge.

Show me an astrophysicist who isn't completely ignorant of real plasma phenomena and I'll show you the papers you requested.
Show me how you get lightning on the moon due to the separation of dust with the SAME charge!

Cap'n Stoopid disease rearing its ugly head again. The charged dust repelling like charges is not the charge separation to which I'm reffering.

Dec 17, 2016
ow me an astrophysicist who isn't completely ignorant of real plasma phenomena and I'll show you the papers you requested.


Show me anyone within EU who has even the slightest grasp of, or qualification in, astrophysical plasma. And don't say the idiot Scott. He made the same schoolboy error as you, regarding Doppler shift; tried to explain the M2-9 Butterfly PN as a Z-pinch! Despite papers already showing that the flow was not through the star, but coming out from either side! Ignorance writ large.
http://electric-c...1-13.PDF (2015)

http://eternosapr...M2-9.pdf (2000)

Cap'n Stoopid disease rearing its ugly head again. The charged dust repelling like charges is not the charge separation to which I'm reffering.


So, go ahead and explain this moon lightning hypothesis. How does it work? Preferably, point us to a description within the scientific literature.

Dec 17, 2016
I very much doubt that you will get lightning on the moon. Call it a gut feeling
"Transient Lunar Phenomena (or TLPs) are observations collected over the years of flashes or glows on the Moon... It has been suggested that effects related to either electrostatic charging or discharging might be able to account for some of the transient lunar phenomena..."

"electrodynamic effects related to the fracturing of near-surface materials could charge any gases that might be present, such as implanted solar wind or radiogenic daughter products.[32] If this were to occur at the surface, the subsequent discharge from this gas might be able to give rise to phenomena visible from Earth. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the triboelectric charging of particles within a gas-borne dust cloud could give rise to electrostatic discharges visible from Earth..."

also
https://en.wikipe...tgassing

Dec 17, 2016
@TGOO,

Yep, most of that seems reasonable except, in my view, the triboelectric reference. I would very much doubt that the dust is dense enough for that to occur above the surface. However, I cannot retrieve the (1980) paper. It was only cited once, and the citing paper is in Russian.

Triboelectric charging of surface dust is discussed here:
http://onlinelibr...364/full
However, the voltages are tiny, and the paper (2001) makes no suggestion of discharges. One of the co-authors of that paper is an author in the paper referenced in this article, I think they have now hung their hat firmly on electrostatic levitation.
The most likely explanations are discussed in reference [34] of that Wiki article:
http://www.space....rms.html

I still don't see what mechanism leads to 'lightning', as suggested by Solon. I don't see it referenced on Scholar for more recent work. Dust levitation doesn't create lightning.

Dec 17, 2016
........I could see the triboelectric effect being possible on Mars. Huge dust storms, and an atmosphere with winds that can instigate dust devils. It certainly happens on Earth. However, all that is very much mainstream science that has been known for a long time. Electrostatically lofted dust on the moon will just accelerate from the surface, and then gravity will take over, and the particles will return on ballistic trajectories to the lunar surface. I'm failing to understand how this phenomenon somehow implies lightning is possible on airless bodies, as suggested by cantthink. Where is his charge separation?

Dec 17, 2016
@nazi sympathizer eu cult fanatic conspiracy theorist troll
Here I though if you actually understood what an electric discharge
[sic]
intentional distraction strawman from your inability to answer or provide evidence
doesn't even understand
red herring distraction strawman from your ignorance

you also can't explain how your eu cult definition is superior to MS physics
Strawman
third strawman distraction from the lack of evidence and your inability to present evidence or explanation
Not surprised you are unfamiliar
another strawman distraction
I think you've caught a case
OT distraction baiting strawman

the only thing you've proven by these posts is that you're suffering from transference and attempting to attack others because of your personal inadequacies and stupidity - it can't be ignorance because we've explained to you before

you can't actually provide a valid answer, so you attack hoping no one noticed you can't actually answer

Dec 17, 2016
@nazi sympathizer eu cult fanatic conspiracy theorist troll cont'd
Show me an astrophysicist who isn't completely ignorant of real plasma phenomena and I'll show you the papers you requested
and i've showed you hundreds of these asrophysicists, starting with Tim Thompson who completely debunked all your bullsh*t claims here: http://phys.org/n...ggs.html

so, if we've already demonstrated, with evidence, that you're a liar and can't comprehend basic physics
AND
i've already presented the factual evidence showing you that astrophysicists know plasma physics
THEN
you're stalling again because you know you're caught in a lie and can't provide evidence for your claims

your argument is the very definition of pseudoscience
you can't actually provide evidence for your claims so distract with irrelevant OT debunked lies and hope no one notices

Dec 18, 2016
.....and i've showed you hundreds of these asrophysicists, starting with Tim Thompson who completely debunked all your bullsh*t claims here: http://phys.org/n...ggs.html


Wow, that was an arse kicking and a half!

As it happens, I just lucked into another failure of the EU. A "critical" one according to them. OT, but what the hell:

One of the most interesting Huygens images released to date shows a network of dark rilles on Saturn's moon Titan. Close inspection of such channels on Titan's surface could provide a *critical test of the Electric Universe*................
Standard Theory: .............. must have vast oceans of methane to continually resupply the escaping methane.
Electric Universe: *No methane oceans will be found.*

http://www.thunde...lles.htm

So, that's gone about as well as the electric comet woo, hasn't it! Must get dispiriting being wrong all the time.

Dec 18, 2016
Yep, most of that seems reasonable except, in my view, the triboelectric reference. I would very much doubt that the dust is dense enough for that to occur above the surface. However, I cannot retrieve the (1980) paper. It was only cited once, and the citing paper is in Russian
You like to doubt because you enjoy doubting? Does doubting give you a thrill? Do you doubt learned scientists or respected sources because you fancy yourself as one or both of the 2?

Is doubting all about you then?

Dec 18, 2016
Yep, most of that seems reasonable except, in my view, the triboelectric reference. I would very much doubt that the dust is dense enough for that to occur above the surface. However, I cannot retrieve the (1980) paper. It was only cited once, and the citing paper is in Russian
You like to doubt because you enjoy doubting? Does doubting give you a thrill? Do you doubt learned scientists or respected sources because you fancy yourself as one or both of the 2?

Is doubting all about you then?


I doubt it, for the hard of reading, because, as I said, that is a paper that is referenced in a Wiki article (not a primary source), that is cited only once in 36 years. And then in something written in Russian. So I can't see either to evaluate them. Given that nobody else seems to be writing about triboelectric discharges, and the locations of the TLPs that are most reliably reported seem to imply a surface phenomenon (if it happens at all), then yes I doubt it. Okay, dear?

Dec 18, 2016
Science by popular belief, sounds about right for someone without an original thought.

Dec 18, 2016
A LARGE LUNAR IMPACT BLAST ON SEPTEMBER 11th 2013
Madiedo, J. m. et al.
https://arxiv.org...5490.pdf

In 1953 a bright flash on the Moon was serendipitously registered in a photographic plate by Stuart (1953).........Because the flash was not confirmed by any other instrument and because of the amateur observation, the real nature of the flash was not clear for many years and this event became another of the mysterious and *often discredited* Transient Lunar Phenomena.


Something similar happens with the Kolovos et al. (1988) flash caught in photography, whose
cause was *attributed to lunar outgassing* by the authors at that time. Both the Stuart and Kolovos et al flashes now seem compatible with the phenomenology we have seen in lunar impact flashes in terms of brightness and duration.


So, it would seem wise to doubt less likely hypotheses. Wikipedia isn't Gospel. Nor is it a primary source.

Dec 18, 2016
Science by popular belief, sounds about right for someone without an original thought.


That's rich coming from someone who merely regurgitates crap invented by scientifically illiterate, Velikovskian woo merchants. Along with a load of Alfven's stuff, a lot of which is now out of date, and has been superseded. And you manage to get that wrong, often as not!
So, do tell us; which original thoughts have you or your EU non-scientists had that have ever done the world of science any good?

Dec 18, 2016
Science by popular belief, sounds about right for someone without an original thought.


Or you could follow the route of Thornhill et al, and do non-science by making crap up based on Velikovskian misinterpretations of mythology. And always being wrong. Doesn't seem to be much point in that, and it contributes nothing to the sum of human knowledge. Good for a few laughs, though.

Dec 20, 2016
Okay, dear?
The triboelectric effect (also known as triboelectric charging) is a type of contact electrification in which certain materials become electrically charged after they come into frictional contact with a different material.[citation needed] Rubbing glass with fur, or a comb through the hair, can build up triboelectricity. Most everyday static electricity is triboelectric. The polarity and strength of the charges produced differ according to the materials, surface roughness, temperature, strain, and other properties."

-I think I'll stick with my original evaluation of your apparent motivations sweetie.

Dec 20, 2016
"@nazi sympathizer eu cult fanatic conspiracy theorist troll cont'd"
--------------------------

This offensive trash is the symptom of the conservative age.

http://money.cnn....dex.html

Can we clean up the forum and get rid of these offensive snipers?

Dec 20, 2016


-I think I'll stick with my original evaluation of your apparent motivations sweetie.


So where is this happening? And how is it producing lightning? I know about triboelectric effects. I linked you to a paper on it:
"The sheath electrons will tend to make the surface potential uniform; thus the triboelectric potential may be reduced for illuminated surfaces. For bodies with UV-absorbing atmospheres or for surfaces that face away from the Sun for long intervals, however, triboelectric charging may be the dominant charging process. Dust particles exposed to wind, such as on the surface of Mars, are particularly susceptible to triboelectric charging......."

Which is pretty much what I said.

And what motivation? To doubt that lightning is happening on the moon? What is your problem with that? How are individual grains with a small charge causing that? Please explain. Try to remember that there is no wind on the moon.

Dec 20, 2016
And what motivation? To doubt that lightning is happening on the moon? What is your problem with that? How are individual grains with a small charge causing that? Please explain
Re 'lightning' on the moon I gave you refs for 3 possible explanations of TLP. You referenced your gut as sufficient evidence for doubt.

I think you need to explain why your gut should be considered a valid reference. Cutie pie.

Dec 21, 2016
And what motivation? To doubt that lightning is happening on the moon? What is your problem with that? How are individual grains with a small charge causing that? Please explain
Re 'lightning' on the moon I gave you refs for 3 possible explanations of TLP. You referenced your gut as sufficient evidence for doubt.

I think you need to explain why your gut should be considered a valid reference. Cutie pie.


I'm starting to think that you might be as thick as our EU friends! So, you are saying that I should just accept that lightning happens on the moon? And that I have no reason to doubt that? From that, I take it that you accept that it does happen, yes? So, as I asked, please explain how it does happen. Otherwise, STFU. And no, it's not just a gut feeling, you burke, it is based on a couple of science degrees, and a knowledge of what is possible, and what is extremely bloody unlikely.
Please explain your own idiocy in this matter. Regards, cherub.

Dec 21, 2016
Re 'lightning' on the moon I gave you refs for 3 possible explanations of TLP. You referenced your gut as sufficient evidence for doubt.


Yes, and you didn't bother following up those references, did you? Or seeking out more recent material. Here is a tip: don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia. Try doing a bit of research.


Dec 21, 2016
Perhaps I should have put a smiley after 'gut feeling' in my original post, and then TGOO wouldn't have got his knickers in such a twist. Forgive me, this interweb thing is still a foreign land to me, and irony seems to be a lost art. Especially for our American friends.

Dec 22, 2016
Yes, and you didn't bother following up those references, did you? Or seeking out more recent material. Here is a tip: don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia. Try doing a bit of research
No I understand your tip to be 'don't believe what you read in wiki if it disagrees with me.'
Forgive me, this interweb thing is still a foreign land to me
-and so is your experience with wiki I would presume. You'll note that article refs are included at the bottom of every page.

Dec 22, 2016
-and so is your experience with wiki I would presume. You'll note that article refs are included at the bottom of every page.

He prefers to "conveniently" ignore those items, a hand wavey rant with some name calling is his M.O. And everything he doesn't agree with is impossible.

Dec 27, 2016
@jonesdumb

You have continuously asked for a scientist who refers to this energy transmission in plasmas as a "discharge", well wouldn't you know...
http://phys.org/n...ace.html
A "revolution" in ionospheric physics because they treat the event as a "form of ionospheric lightning discharge". How about them electric woo....

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