The Titan Wind Tunnel

A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments

Devon M. Burr, Nathan T. Bridges, James Smith, John R. Marshall, Bruce R. White, David Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aeolian processes occur throughout the Solar System and likely on extrasolar planets as well. Models based on data collected in boundary layer wind tunnels have contributed to understanding the physics of these processes. Planetary wind tunnels allow simulation of conditions (atmospheric pressure, density, or kinematic viscosity) on extraterrestrial bodies, and their use over several decades has demonstrated important differences between terrestrial and extraterrestrial aeolian processes. A high-pressure wind tunnel is now available in the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory (PAL) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Used up to the early 1990's for Venus analog experiments, this wind tunnel has been refurbished and is now in use as the Titan Wind Tunnel (TWT) for Titan analog experiments. Initial results for threshold friction wind speeds at Titan analog conditions do not agree with models based on experimental data at terrestrial, Martian, and Venusian analog conditions (Burr et al., 2015). These results from the TWT work continue a history of wind tunnel experiments that show repeated under-prediction of threshold by models based on non-analog conditions. In addition to suggesting caution in extrapolating from one surface environment to another, this historical record highlights the utility of experiments in wind tunnels that provide closely analogous conditions to the environment of interest. The TWT, along with other PAL facilities, provides the means for further analog experiments by the scientific community to support continued advancement in understanding planetary aeolian processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalAeolian Research
Volume18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Fingerprint

Titan
wind tunnel
eolian process
experiment
historical record
Venus
atmospheric pressure
solar system
physics
friction
viscosity
planet
boundary layer
kinematics
wind velocity
history
prediction

Keywords

  • Planetary processes
  • Wind tunnels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geology

Cite this

Burr, D. M., Bridges, N. T., Smith, J., Marshall, J. R., White, B. R., & Williams, D. (2015). The Titan Wind Tunnel: A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments. Aeolian Research, 18, 205-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008

The Titan Wind Tunnel : A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments. / Burr, Devon M.; Bridges, Nathan T.; Smith, James; Marshall, John R.; White, Bruce R.; Williams, David.

In: Aeolian Research, Vol. 18, 01.09.2015, p. 205-214.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Burr, DM, Bridges, NT, Smith, J, Marshall, JR, White, BR & Williams, D 2015, 'The Titan Wind Tunnel: A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments', Aeolian Research, vol. 18, pp. 205-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008
Burr, Devon M. ; Bridges, Nathan T. ; Smith, James ; Marshall, John R. ; White, Bruce R. ; Williams, David. / The Titan Wind Tunnel : A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments. In: Aeolian Research. 2015 ; Vol. 18. pp. 205-214.
@article{4c9aab197df246cdb72686235de75a68,
title = "The Titan Wind Tunnel: A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments",
abstract = "Aeolian processes occur throughout the Solar System and likely on extrasolar planets as well. Models based on data collected in boundary layer wind tunnels have contributed to understanding the physics of these processes. Planetary wind tunnels allow simulation of conditions (atmospheric pressure, density, or kinematic viscosity) on extraterrestrial bodies, and their use over several decades has demonstrated important differences between terrestrial and extraterrestrial aeolian processes. A high-pressure wind tunnel is now available in the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory (PAL) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Used up to the early 1990's for Venus analog experiments, this wind tunnel has been refurbished and is now in use as the Titan Wind Tunnel (TWT) for Titan analog experiments. Initial results for threshold friction wind speeds at Titan analog conditions do not agree with models based on experimental data at terrestrial, Martian, and Venusian analog conditions (Burr et al., 2015). These results from the TWT work continue a history of wind tunnel experiments that show repeated under-prediction of threshold by models based on non-analog conditions. In addition to suggesting caution in extrapolating from one surface environment to another, this historical record highlights the utility of experiments in wind tunnels that provide closely analogous conditions to the environment of interest. The TWT, along with other PAL facilities, provides the means for further analog experiments by the scientific community to support continued advancement in understanding planetary aeolian processes.",
keywords = "Planetary processes, Wind tunnels",
author = "Burr, {Devon M.} and Bridges, {Nathan T.} and James Smith and Marshall, {John R.} and White, {Bruce R.} and David Williams",
year = "2015",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "205--214",
journal = "Aeolian Research",
issn = "1875-9637",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Titan Wind Tunnel

T2 - A new tool for investigating extraterrestrial aeolian environments

AU - Burr, Devon M.

AU - Bridges, Nathan T.

AU - Smith, James

AU - Marshall, John R.

AU - White, Bruce R.

AU - Williams, David

PY - 2015/9/1

Y1 - 2015/9/1

N2 - Aeolian processes occur throughout the Solar System and likely on extrasolar planets as well. Models based on data collected in boundary layer wind tunnels have contributed to understanding the physics of these processes. Planetary wind tunnels allow simulation of conditions (atmospheric pressure, density, or kinematic viscosity) on extraterrestrial bodies, and their use over several decades has demonstrated important differences between terrestrial and extraterrestrial aeolian processes. A high-pressure wind tunnel is now available in the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory (PAL) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Used up to the early 1990's for Venus analog experiments, this wind tunnel has been refurbished and is now in use as the Titan Wind Tunnel (TWT) for Titan analog experiments. Initial results for threshold friction wind speeds at Titan analog conditions do not agree with models based on experimental data at terrestrial, Martian, and Venusian analog conditions (Burr et al., 2015). These results from the TWT work continue a history of wind tunnel experiments that show repeated under-prediction of threshold by models based on non-analog conditions. In addition to suggesting caution in extrapolating from one surface environment to another, this historical record highlights the utility of experiments in wind tunnels that provide closely analogous conditions to the environment of interest. The TWT, along with other PAL facilities, provides the means for further analog experiments by the scientific community to support continued advancement in understanding planetary aeolian processes.

AB - Aeolian processes occur throughout the Solar System and likely on extrasolar planets as well. Models based on data collected in boundary layer wind tunnels have contributed to understanding the physics of these processes. Planetary wind tunnels allow simulation of conditions (atmospheric pressure, density, or kinematic viscosity) on extraterrestrial bodies, and their use over several decades has demonstrated important differences between terrestrial and extraterrestrial aeolian processes. A high-pressure wind tunnel is now available in the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory (PAL) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Used up to the early 1990's for Venus analog experiments, this wind tunnel has been refurbished and is now in use as the Titan Wind Tunnel (TWT) for Titan analog experiments. Initial results for threshold friction wind speeds at Titan analog conditions do not agree with models based on experimental data at terrestrial, Martian, and Venusian analog conditions (Burr et al., 2015). These results from the TWT work continue a history of wind tunnel experiments that show repeated under-prediction of threshold by models based on non-analog conditions. In addition to suggesting caution in extrapolating from one surface environment to another, this historical record highlights the utility of experiments in wind tunnels that provide closely analogous conditions to the environment of interest. The TWT, along with other PAL facilities, provides the means for further analog experiments by the scientific community to support continued advancement in understanding planetary aeolian processes.

KW - Planetary processes

KW - Wind tunnels

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84940745365&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84940745365&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008

DO - 10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.07.008

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 205

EP - 214

JO - Aeolian Research

JF - Aeolian Research

SN - 1875-9637

ER -