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Martian lightning

In a dust storm, scientists find the first direct evidence of electrical discharge on Mars

12:29pm, June 22, 2009

Scientists say they have seen the first direct evidence of lightning on Mars, in the form of electrical discharges during a Martian dust storm.

The finding has implications for human travel to the Red Planet and for studying possible origins of life on Mars, the authors say in a paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters.

It has been thought that lightning might be possible on Mars. Bits of dust rubbing against each other in one of the planet’s famous dust devils could charge up the particles the same way that running on a carpet charges up socks.

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