The Stain - Page 5

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Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 81

PostPosted: January 7, 2011 11:28 AM 

Go Stain Go. At the same time I hope that this "phenomenon" doesn't grow into any critical parts of the rover.


Posts: 14

Reply: 82

PostPosted: January 7, 2011 9:56 PM 

It would be great to see the stain get big enough so that the NASA people have to take strong notice of it, or if by some remote chance it is a cleaning event, it would be great to see it get so big it cleans a large section of the solar panels.

Either way, Go stain go.



Posts: 344

Reply: 83

PostPosted: January 7, 2011 10:55 PM 

Stan and Kye,
I share your sentiments.

I wonder if it is possible to get telemetry on the output of individual solar panels? Probably not, but if it were so, one could distinguish a cleaning from a covering on one panel.

I am a little concerned that the stain may corrode some of the wiring or partially short the electrical contacts. Not sure what effect that might have on the functioning of the rover.

There is also the possibility that the stain is merely the "tip of the iceberg" with respect to some process going on under the rover sundial platform that may also have caused the raising of the sundial rim.

By the way, Jim Bell, the pancam lead scientist, is probably the one who could best do something about getting better images of the stain, if he thought it worthwhile.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 84

PostPosted: January 8, 2011 4:41 PM 

144 frames of the sundial covering 451 days.


Posts: 692

Reply: 85

PostPosted: January 9, 2011 9:02 AM 

I have also noticed this, the sundial is heavily deformed. As a static part with no movable parts, this is indeed a strange phenomenon.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 86

PostPosted: January 9, 2011 6:06 PM 

The gray-scale center portion of the sundial began peeling\delaminating sometime between sols 700-800.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 87

PostPosted: January 9, 2011 11:11 PM 

Most all Pancam images of the sundial, video style. Sol 1 to Sol 2467. It's about 25 minutes long.


Posts: 344

Reply: 88

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 1:49 AM 

Psych, bravo on that masterful youtube video. The stitching of the lower resolution side images to the sharper and colored pancam images is very helpful.

I noticed something interesting on Sol 522. I think here in the video:

A brown smudge or piece of soil appears to have landed on the left side of the sundial platform. It doesn't last long, but it looks very curious.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 89

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 9:03 AM 

RE #87, Interesting. Just shortly after the escape from Purgatory.

In other sundial notes, on June 21, 2010 in a reply to an inquiry from James Sorensen to Jim Bell about differences to the two rovers sundials (and lifted from 'that other' site (
"Regarding the obvious "lip" on the Opportunity Pancam cal target's silicone RTV grayscale rings--we don't know why that has occurred. Again, however, there are slight differences between the way the adhesive was applied to the bottoms of the rings (the three rings are separate annuli of colored RTV), and of course as you note, there are differences in the temperature and humidity conditions between the two rover sites (Opportunity has gotten slightly warmer in the summertime than Spirit has, due to its more equatorial location). The rings don't appear (to me at least) to be falling off or delaminating, so perhaps it was a one-time or one-season event involving the loss of strength in the adhesive. Ultimately, who knows. Despite getting dusty (and cleaned, and dusty) and warped, the cal targets continue to be very important for the team for tactical-timescale calibration of Pancam multispectral images (and at a "cost" of only about 2.5% of the data volume on each rover, despite the tens of thousands of cal target images!)."

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 90

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 10:02 AM 

RE #87: Looks like it might just be a shadow from that device mounted on the edge of the deck Sad . Check the direction and length of the gnomens shadow.


Posts: 344

Reply: 91

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 11:03 AM 

Reply 89: Yes, that's probably it. I was fooled for a while by that shadow in other images. When I have time, I will try to do a quantitative comparison of shadow lengths to confirm this.


Posts: 161

Reply: 92

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 11:55 AM 

"there are differences in the temperature and humidity conditions between the two rover sites (Opportunity has gotten slightly warmer in the summertime than Spirit has, due to its more equatorial location)".

I am really wondering how HOT' the surface of the panels get now, I recall that when Spirit first landed and was still on the pad, it got so hot that they had to shut it down, for fear of frying circuits.
Opp gets HOTTER. How hot is hot??

Joe Smith

Posts: 86

Reply: 93

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 12:52 PM 

Not to change the subject,,,, but does any-one know why we haven't moved in four days?
Joe in Texas

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 94

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 1:12 PM 

Psych, Thanks for putting that video together. I watched the whole thing.

mann, I'm not going to try to find the reference, but as memory serves, the record high temperature registered by the sensors on Spirit was 36 C. Surfaces in the sunshine on Mars get a lot warmer than we would expect from Earth where the thick atmosphere is much better at cooling surfaces, even though the sunlight is more intense on average.

I've been wandering far and wide through the library lately and came across this navcam image from the Victoria ingress that maybe includes something like the stain: a round dark patch extending from under the big hinge flange lower right. I haven't made any attempt to track it in other images, but now I'll keep my eyes open. It is interesting to see so many Mars "phenomena" repeat in similar "habitats".

Over the last few days I've come to think that the existing MER library probably includes enough evidence of life that no more is really needed. If all data acquisition from all spacecraft stopped today and we didn't get back to Mars for a century, by the time we did we would already know quite a bit about the life there from data already safely stored on Earth. All that is needed is a lot of work organizing the material already acquired, IMO.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 95

PostPosted: January 10, 2011 11:49 PM 

You guys are welcome. I figured it was something that needed to be done.

Good catch Kye. Sol 1416, shortly after the big dust storm of '07 and pre-dating the sundial stain by a couple of hundred sols. Not many photos of that part of the deck. Except, Sols 1350 to 1382 they imaged the entire deck. Lots of sand and dust, no spots. Then on Sol 1402 they happen to catch it for the first time .

It was imaged three more times after that, sol 1510, 1586 and 1761. All Navcam. Sol 1377 appears to be the only color taken of the hinge and it is clean then.


Posts: 344

Reply: 96

PostPosted: January 11, 2011 2:13 AM 

I've been wrestling with the question of whether the stain has height, or is flat. I think the above gif x-eye stereo animation, where the navcam eyes seem to be at different elevations between sol 2471 and 2475, shows some parallax indicating height. Specifically, the apparent stain retreat at the top right is really just a parallax change. This is not conclusive, but I think it indicates a hump of some kind.

Joe Smith

Posts: 86

Reply: 97

PostPosted: January 11, 2011 4:20 PM 

To me,the stain's most prominent feature is its reflectivity to the camera lenses,it
therefore absorbs light big time (lives under/on, mars harsh radiation/?),,,I am only guessing of course,,that at least is allowed,,,even among such esteemed scribes herein these pages.
I was nicknamed as a young man of 13,,,Judge,,still called that when I go back to Louisiana.Perhaps that is what gets me into so much trouble,,I am quick to offer an opinion, should one present itself.
I would expect the same from others.

If its worth thinking about,,then throw it on the table.
Really have appreciated those you-tube,sundial, I spent a couple of hours at it,,,then wandered into the IAS Viewer,,,,
everybody should have one of those!!!
I will be a happy camper when I am able to open files in it.
Still aint there yet.Still working on it,,,perhaps it likes IE better than FF,,,think I will try that.
Again,,,Thanks Dana for all the attention spent.
Joe in Texas

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 98

PostPosted: January 11, 2011 8:22 PM 

Psych, Re your 94, Thanks, You're fast. The Hinge Spot on sol 1510 looks remarkably like the Stain after it first elongated (center-left extending from the hinge flange) :

On the later sols that you identified, the Spot fades somewhat, also like the stain. The Stain is more plausibly life if it repeats, IMO, and this Spot seems to be a second instance of the Stain.

I'm still spending a lot of time with the images. Essentially what I'm looking for is repetition. There is so much repetition of complex phenomena that I'm overwhelmed. There are several different distinct styles of erosion that have shaped the bright rock, and in some cases I think that it is possible to see where similar erosion is currently underway.


Posts: 344

Reply: 99

PostPosted: January 11, 2011 10:56 PM 

Kye, Psych, a second stain, very interesting. In both cases, it seems to originate next to a flat fixture that is bolted to the rover deck. That suggests it might have started in the narrow space between the fixture and the deck.

Is it possible this is some Earthly contamination that came along for the ride? The rovers were merely disinfected, not actually sterilized.

I've been a little surprised that the stain seemed to originate at Victoria crater, which always struck me as being dry, dry, dry. Much drier than, say, Endurance, which to my eye had clear signs of (relative) dampness in places.

Psych Author Profile Page

Posts: no

Reply: 100

PostPosted: January 12, 2011 12:15 AM 

Sol 2217 Navcams, latest images of the hinge area:

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