On the Road Again - volume 5 - Page 24

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Posts: 3062

Reply: 461

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 9:10 AM 

Seems like anyone interested might not have been able to access the MI gif of some moving spots on one of Oppy's magnets. I'll try to show it again below.




Posts: 3465

Reply: 462

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 10:15 AM 

Here is a 4X fourth root contrast enhancement of the sol 647 MI of the calibration target created from the original data.

I have no idea what has changed - or not changed - as this was the only sol on which this target was imaged.

I suspect that it was taken to satisfy some instrumental concern in calibrating the Mossbauer spectrometer. The focus was not on a before / after anything so why waste valuable time and bandwidth on looking ever again? ( It's not like it's on another planet or anything... )

Speaking of purpose and valuable time...

Serpens, the animation shows exactly what I wanted to show: shadow details in the dark stain and the clearest outline of the deck and solar cells to show that the stain overlaps a cell. I used the best images available for both. If you know of better images to show that in the animation then please specify the exact images you wish used and I will take the time to create a "serpens gripe" version.

I have said many times that I will create images on request if asked. Of course, I have to balance such demands on my time with continuing to follow the mission in almost real time.

Saay, serpens, why don't I send you some of my standard imagej macros and plugins and you can create your own images? ( who will help me eat the bread said the little red hen )

( please excuse the snark as I am feeling a little overwhelmed in my life right now. )


Posts: 3062

Reply: 463

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 12:06 PM 

Hort; re. your #466, thanks for the 4x enhancement of the Moessbauer calibration target MI. It shows up the spots a little better than my earlier image which was actually a colouration by aicall on which I superimposed an X2 inset of an area of the crack which appeared to show some interesting blobs. I never claimed that I was trying to show growth of anything there or that there was a conspiracy or incompetence on the part of NASA/JPL in not following up on the image. I was just stating a fact that there were no followups and the image was not explained as far as I know. Serpens and Bill are welcome to draw their own conclusions as to what I intended to hint at but conspiracy and incompetence of NASA/JPL was not my intent, just that they are in the business of not explaining any of the features that show up on images that might interest some of us who are not geologists.

Methinks they are trying to revamp this blog into a mini UMSF where at least Bill can continue to make the kinds of contributions that he has been banned from making at UMSF.

Re. the comments on your GIF comparing the development of the spot; It should have been obvious to the meanest of intellects closely following the images produced by Oppy, that the images to do what they required you to do just do not exist and that the spot and its movement is real and merited some study.

I hope Mark Carey and yourself do not allow them to convert this forum into a poor-cousin image of UMSF.


Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 464

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 1:50 PM 

That stain, or a smaller version of it appears suddenly in images from sol 1785 and then slowly disappears by sol 1850 only to suddenly reappear covering a larger area on sol 2024. Now I'm back to thinking that this is probably an interesting native Martian process playing out on the surface of the rover deck, maybe even a REALLY REALLY INTERESTING Martian process. The history of the stain covers at least 350 sols and is consistent with continual growth in extent if we can accept that the visibility of the stain varies with dust events. LWS re your 463, yes it would be great to correlate the comings and goings of the visible stain with weather events, but I don't think it would be easy.

There are lots of images of the sundial but there are a lot fewer that show all of the current extent of the stain as most are cut-off short of the adjacent solar-cell. The early development is well covered but the "color" is now growing out of range of the standard sundial reference images.


Posts: 692

Reply: 465

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 3:40 PM 

We see what we are seeing, and think what we are thinking. And we say what we are seeing, think of, with no restrictions. (Poor grammar), but this is it, Mars Forum, as it always has been. This is a great thread.

--Mizar from Norway.


Posts: 344

Reply: 466

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 5:20 PM 

Today's Planetary Society blog
has notes from Squyres' talk at the LPSC. They are considering multiple hypotheses for the crust on Chocolate Hills.


Posts: 344

Reply: 467

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 5:24 PM 

That link came out wrong. Try this


Posts: 344

Reply: 468

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 8:20 PM 

X-eye stereo for the streamlined rock with bilateral symmetry (from my #455).


Posts: 344

Reply: 469

PostPosted: March 5, 2010 11:12 PM 

Navcam stereo pair that includes the stain, which appears to have a small but noticeable height and casts a shadow.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 470

PostPosted: March 6, 2010 9:31 AM 

sol 2172 ( Mar 4, 2010 ) L257 2x1 pan of southern rim of Comcepcion:

It's too bad Oppy will not be able to get to the "white rock" on the center left of the image. It seems unique amoung the rocks seen so far on the rim.

We can hope for at least a full filter treatment when Oppy moves closer to the rim.

Yeah, what's with all the left eye only views?

It is extremely difficult to sort out the rocks on the rim with a patch over one eye.

Perhaps the low power levels are a factor ( 278 Watt-hours as of March 3, 2010 ).


Posts: 3062

Reply: 471

PostPosted: March 6, 2010 9:46 AM 

Hi Barsoomer;

I can see what you describe.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 472

PostPosted: March 6, 2010 10:50 AM 

er, Barsoomer, LWS, the effect you are seeing may be related to the fact that the R0 image was taken at 13:43:03 and the L0 image was taken at 14:11:55. Here is a L7R1 pancam image of the stain with only a 4 second difference between the images:

Speaking of 3D, I combined sol 2170 Navcam right eye images with the sol 2172 pancam images to get these Concepcion southern rim 3D views.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 473

PostPosted: March 6, 2010 12:15 PM 

Hi Hort; Thanks! That adequately explains it.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 474

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 9:57 AM 

Just trying to take stock of where we now are with the state of play at Concepcion;

The Concepcion Impact could have taken place anytime between 10 to 100,000 years ago.

The interesting rinds on several of the rocks in the NE quadrant of the crater are still of uncertain origin. They might still be impact melt; fracture fill or something else entirely. I continue to suggest lichens as another alternative until definitively proven otherwise.

The rinds would appear to have decreased somewhat in frequency of occurence as Oppy moves southwards around the crater.

There are no berries on the drifted sands in the interior of the crater.

There are lots of small berries on the outside of the crater.

Impacts tend to remove berries from around craters based on examples of pictures of very recent impacts by MRO of some meridiani impacts.

These other impacts seem to have also removed berries from ejecta rocks.

The above conclusion is based on haematite absence from rocks near other new meridiani craters.

The concepcion impact did not remove the berries from surrounding rocks as evidenced by Oppys images in the NE quadrant of the Crater.

We have been given no indication as to whether hematite is present or not in the rotten rocks which have numerous berries or the rocks with the interesting rinds which also have numerous berries. It would be very interesting if these berries do not contain their expected complement of hematite.

No explanation has been given for the rotten rocks which appear to have their fair share of somewhat distorted berries in the concepcion NE quadrant images.

The advancing spot on Oppy's instrument deck seems to be of no concern to the Project team. Hence it is probably seen as something which will not interfere with Oppy's future operations, eg. it is not a leaking fluid from Oppy. Continued monitoring of the spot seems unlikely since the spot has advanced past the edge of the standard instrument pictures.

Recent small craters comparable in size to concepcion have been shown to retain ice ejecta for a number of months on the surface after the impact thus possibly having some influence on the microclimate in their immediate vicinity. Could these areas be correlated with specific quadrants of the craters formed? And could it be possible that the interesting rinds at meridiani might be correlated with possible ice rich ejecta?



Posts: 3465

Reply: 475

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 11:15 AM 

sol 2174 ( Mar 6, 2010 ) 180 degree pan in next drive direction:

Looks like Oppy is "pressing on" in the circumnavigation of Concepcion without any further detailed investigation.


And, once again, the MER Pancam Data Tracking Web Interface is reporting that the 2174 images are not yet "on the ground" - but the database was last updated early this morning. Something is fracked ( for you Battlestar Galictica fans ) in the database.

Ah well, looks like I get a few "days off" from Mars.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 476

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 1:06 PM 

I see Tesheiner on UMSF is suggesting that Oppy may start heading south towards Endeavour by tomorrow. That would be a pity!



Posts: 26

Reply: 477

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 2:42 PM 

Re: Reply: 482, "The interesting rinds... I continue to suggest lichens as another alternative until definitively proven otherwise."

Why are those rinds only found on these relatively freshly excavated rocks and not on any of the ejecta, meteors, or outcrops seen before?

Lichen would grow and renew itself on any suitable surface. Impact melt or fracture fill would erode from older surfaces, not to be replaced. We only see this material on the newest surfaces of Meridiani. That is more an indication of a one time mineral coating that will be worn away rather than a self renewing coating that would occur on older surfaces as well.


Posts: 344

Reply: 478

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 3:02 PM 

In response to #485, the growth of lichen is limited by the availability of moisture. Consider a scenario where an impact excavates porous rock that is filled with ice. Under conditions at Meridiani, the ice trapped in the pores is likely to undergo repeated episodes of melting and refreezing until it disappears completely. The lichen can only grow and flourish during this relatively short period. Afterwards only fossilized signs would remain. These in turn would erode away like you say impact melt or fracture fill would. Thus, it is entirely plausible that lichen rinds would only be seen at fresh craters near ice deposits.

There is a terrestrial model for lichen growing under near-Martian conditions in the dry valleys of Antarctica. There porous rock absorbs some moisture from snow before the snow covering on the rock is removed by the wind. However, unlike the situation with excavated craters on Mars, the snow covering is periodically renewed, so the lichen can also renew itself.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 479

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 3:45 PM 

Centsworth_II; re your 485.

That's an excellent question. I've given my speculation on it as posed by some of the geologists on the blog several times before in this thread but, just to repeat, my hyper speculation is this;

Symbionts of lichen like organisms are living now in near surface crevices and cracks in the meridiani rocks; a relatively small impact occurs and the ejecta containing these symbiont spores are exposed on the surface; some areas near the crater, for a few months, are submerged in ice which provides conditions that allow for these putative symbiont spores to quickly germinate and form the lichen thallus; as conditions return relatively quickly to the harsh mars surface norms the lichen thallus cannot survive and so deteriotates, dies and flakes off.

The "interesting rinds" are not found on ejecta, meteors or outcrops seen before because all the above are either old, as for meteors, or from old craters from which ambient mars harsh surface conditions would have ensured that any putative rinds they had would have disappeared long ago.

Indeed, we are just very fortunate to see the "lichen" remnants / fossils on some of the rocks now.

I agree that impact melt or fracture fill might also erode from old surfaces leaving no trace.

I have'nt seen any examples of impact fill given except breccias which, from my reading, should be quite long lasting, however. As far as I know, no examples of breccias have been seen near any crater visited so far but should'nt we see some near this very young crater?. I hope there is still time to see some before Oppy leaves if the temperatures were high enough at concepcion to create such breccias.

I would be very happy if you could point me to some examples of these breccias at Victoria or elsewhere, as i may have missed them.

Fracture fills, on the other hand, are quite long lasting since it would seem that several have been imaged throughout Oppy's travels. Should'nt we be seeing many clear examples of fracture fills since we can see lots of rocks that came from the surface with fractures if the interesting rinds are indeed fracture fills?

Essentially, I think the "interesting rinds" of putative lichens are very ephemeral and last for quite short periods on the surface, hence the reason why we haven't seen them elsewhere before.

There may however be other resistant resting representatives of life found on the surface of Meridiani on a continuous and continuing basis however. Some berries might fit that bill.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 480

PostPosted: March 7, 2010 3:58 PM 

Hi Barsoomer;

Thanks, I had not seen your response to centsworth-II before I posted mine. However, I think we agree in the substantive areas. I forgot to mention in my response above that recent MRO images have shown ice persisting on the surface around small new craters for a few months after having been ejected from the subsurface and that it is perhaps feasible to speculate that a similar thing might have happened at concepcion providing conditions that might have led to a quick flowering of lichen like organisms but a quick death also as surface conditions returned to normal after the impact.


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