The Stain - Page 7

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PostPosted: January 29, 2011 11:43 AM 

But Stan;

Serpens will tell you with a straight face that the last water on meridiani was over 2 billion years ago. So it might look like mud but it can't be mud. Its the magical martian fines!!


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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 7:05 AM 

Stan, Part of the problem with humidity is that few of us have experience of playing with DRY fine grained materials at very low temperatures.

Long ago I speculated about the 'bounce prints' after the Oppy balloon landing on the sediments, which to me looked like they had reacted as a thixotropic sediment, i.e. with some interstitial fluid between particles. Think of stamping wet sand at the beach above the waterline - briefly water will surface and then soak back. It seemed to me that the berries were 'engulfed' in the fine sediment at time of impact, rather than pushed down by the impact.

No-one thought this was worth serious consideration and I admit that the other evidence for lack of fluid at the surface TODAY is strong. We do see evidence of fluid flow (maybe not pure water).

Caking of sediment without moisture is something I haven't studied but I guess it's possible, if the material has fine silt or clay particles.

Of course 'fluid' and 'moisture' are not the same thing.


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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 7:16 AM 



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 8:05 AM 

Hi Stan

Oppy directly bounced off the rock below ("bounce" rock) on landing and left signs that suggested to me that the impact temporarily released water contained in the soil near the surface that stained the rock.

The question is; How does newboy explain that "stain" as related to fines.



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 2:32 PM 


" We do see evidence of fluid flow (maybe not pure water)."

I do not believe that there is pure water on the surface of Mars (it would be frozen or boil away). I think there is brine.
Peter Smith of the Phoenix mission openly speculated at a lecture I attended that the "water drops" photographed by Phoenix, were a perchlorate brine.



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 3:04 PM 

I'm not sure what the signs of water release are in the pic. Is it the darkened soil around the edges?

Here is my logic.
The wheels look like they are mud caked. Is mud possible on Mars?

1. There is H2O on Mars. We see water ice.
2. There are brine solutions that are liquid in Martian conditions (perchlorate and possibly others).
3. There is perchlorate on Mars. (as reported by the Phoenix mission).

Conclusion. Mud is possible on Mars.

Back to the stain. It looks wet.



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 6:07 PM 


Look at the surface of the left edge of the Bounce rock.

Imagine that rock fixed on the Meridiani surface for perhaps millenia. Then imagine an Oppy airbag striking it a glancing blow, pushing the left edge into the soil and slightly dislodging it. Imagine what dry fine dust around the rock would do to the rock. Imagine what water released by the impact would do.

Then look at the surface of the left edge of the rock and tell us what you see.

Not science, but being practical and using one's observational senses to see which is the more reasonable explanation for whatever you see.



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 6:20 PM 

sol 85 ( Mar 30, 2004 ) 3D of "Bounce Rock":

from the original 12 bit data.

I think the darker soil around the rock is what Winston may be seeing as "water signs".

In 3D the darker soil near the rock is seen as loosened soil that was piled against the rock.

There appears to be a soil "ledge" that has some internal strength. How is that possible in "dry" soil that has undergone the shock of several hundred kg of mass in motion landing on it?

Color me mystified.

Was hoping for some "fresh meat" today from Mars - but none so far...


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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 7:41 PM 


Thanks for that 3D image of bounce rock. It is arguably your best so far. Once again the 3D images show up misinterpretations based on 2D images alone. My image suggested a stain only on the surface of the rock. Your 3D shows a discrete layer of soil on the left side of the rock that is darker than the surface soil and also a discrete dark staining around the rock.

I agree with your question about dry friable soil (deduced from several later oppy investigations) surviving in such a discrete fashion after the huge impact. I still feel that water released from the impact produced the layer of what was subsurface berries, pre impact, now sticking to the dislodged rock surface.

I still feel water was involved. Water was there. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.



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PostPosted: February 8, 2011 9:17 PM 


That Image also tells us a lot about the berries. Look at the berries on the top left side depressed region on the rock. See any stems there? The berries in the trench also seem to be concentrated in just the top layer of the trench edges. Also, look at the colour of the berries. the ones on the rock that appear to have come from below the soil surface are predominantly reddish or brownish as compared with the surface ones which have grey blue berries predominating.

That rock could be a veritable laboratory for studying the characteristics and sizes of berries in one image.


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PostPosted: February 15, 2011 10:52 AM 

Has this been mentioned anywhere, maybe a Victoria thread? Sols 1503 to 1547, prior to the stains first appearance, Opportunity's wheel dropped a clump of dirt onto a rock and it was imaged blowing away over the next ~40 days

Here is a quick GIF of the first and last sols:

Horton, have you done a color comparison with this bit of soil and the stain?


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PostPosted: February 15, 2011 5:52 PM 

sol 1504-1530 ( Apr 17-May 14, 2008 ) animation of changes:

Nice find Psych. I don't think it has been discussed here before.

Here are my Flickr images between 1504 and 1530 and no others are of the area behind the sundial.

The soil on the rock looks lighter than the stain relative to the deck - but as I have warned many times you can only do comparisons between features in the same horticolor image.

Using RAD data absolute comparisons between images is only good to about 10%.

Today the first new data after solar conjunction is available at Exploratorium.

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PostPosted: February 15, 2011 11:10 PM 

Context image panorama from Mike Howard's Midnight Mars Browser, showing Opportunity's position inside Victoria, sols 1502-1547.


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PostPosted: February 16, 2011 5:02 PM 

sol 2494-2510 ( Jan 29-Feb 15, 2011 ) sundial stain and track soil changes:


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PostPosted: February 16, 2011 5:50 PM 

sol 2492 ( Jan 27, 2011 ) deck panorama:

with detail links to several "stringie thingies" on the deck.

What held these thingies together when they were tossed onto the deck? What kind of rocks behave this way?

The only "long" mineral fiber is asbestos - according to Wikipedia.

"Short" fibers include Wollastonite, Palygorskite and Halloysite.

Basic question: For a rock guy how long is "long"? Are these fibers "long"?


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PostPosted: February 16, 2011 6:13 PM 

They look a bit like some specks from the phoenix images. Was there any detailed identification of those minerals?


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PostPosted: February 16, 2011 11:31 PM 

For a rock guy how long is "long"?
... About the length of a bit of string.

Actually Hortonheardawho 'Asbestos' is a commercial grouping for a range of fibrous silicates. There is a nice example of Tremolite in the Smithsonian which is around 20 cm long to the best of my memory. Some examples are longer so the bit of string is quite variable.

But it is unlikely that we would find amphiboles on the surface as these are metamorphic constructs (unlikely not impossible) so if these are indeed an asbestos group then chrysotile is the logical (white) choice. Interestingly enough chrysotile as part of the serpentine group is a phyllosilicate. Say isn’t that what we are looking for? When did this stuff appear? Hard to confirm just what this stuff is from the deck pan but hey, there has to be a small but finite probability that you may go down as the discoverer of phyllosilicates on Mars. The bummer is that Chrysotile is vulnerable to acidic attack leaving nothing but a silica remnant. So to have this as chrysotile the concept of water bubbling up from the subsurface has to go.


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PostPosted: February 17, 2011 12:43 AM 

It appears that the stringy thingies have been around since at least sol 1932 ( Jul 1, 2009 ) .

I was sort'a hoping that they were "recent" - as in after the RAT brush of "Luis de Torres".

Tomorrow I will do an animation of the changes between the two sols and look back a bit for other views of the same area.

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PostPosted: February 17, 2011 10:19 AM 

Horton, check out sol 1378 pancams. there is a 257 of the spot in the center of the solar cell at the forward edge of the deck. So far this is the first occurrence of that spot. In this image though it looks like part of it to be a sun spot in the shadow of the mast assembly. It is only visible as a string in the red channel. 1456, 1562, has a B&W pancam of that cell and the spot is there.

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PostPosted: February 17, 2011 10:26 AM 

I forgot to add, all of these showed up after the Big Sandstorm and, entry\exit from Victoria. Speculation, Opportunity may have been struck by debris, either wind propelled, lofted and dropped, or fallen from the cliffs inside Victoria, resulting in scratches and cracks.

Maybe even micro-meteorite strike Shocked

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