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Re: [TCML] Not coil related, but a HV question

On 4/11/16 6:06 PM, John Nelson wrote:
Interesting question, but I am sure that it has been explored.  With all the satellites up there and going to the moon and mars and beyond, I am sure that arcing has been a concern.  Logic would say that in a vacuum there would be less resistance between any two points and the likely hood of arcing would be increased.  How about doing the experiment in a vacuum chamber where you could see what was happening without a camera and balloon and you could adjust the gap easier.  Same thing as high altitude balloning only cheaper and more controllable.

Yes indeed.. as noted, around 100k ft is actually where it's worst.
The pressure on the surface of Mars is about like earth at 100,000 ft. But breakdown on Mars is lower voltage, because Mars atmosphere is Argon and CO2. At JPL, we joke that Mars was specifically designed to be the worst possible breakdown environment: the pressure is at the "critical pressure", the air is gases with low ionization potential, and there's plenty of dust around to land on your HV thing and provide a nice bump in the surface to enhance the field.

A little known aspect of Martian dust devils is that they probably glow dimly at night, because of the corona discharges from the sand grains which get charged when being picked up off the ground. As far as I know, we don't have any photos of this, though.

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