Santa Maria Crater - Page 16

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Posts: 3062

Reply: 301

PostPosted: January 15, 2011 10:49 PM 


RE. your reply #298. Excellent catch. Those look like whos to me. Hpe they do some MI's that can be properly colourized.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 302

PostPosted: January 16, 2011 11:29 AM 

sol 2481 MI pan of "Luis de Torres" on the rim of Santa Maria:

with a location link and 3D ( HDR and Shadow enhanced versions ) links - plus this SOD detail:

APXS measurement is underway now.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 303

PostPosted: January 16, 2011 3:50 PM 

sol 2469 ( Jan 14, 2011 ) infrared / visible saturated false color of most peculiar rock near "Ruiz garcia" rock:

with location links.

a variety of minerals in ( on? ) the rock plus the odd angular / round shape combination.

Notice the overall burple color.

And here is the rock "Terreros":

with links.

More burple.

Perhaps these rock fragments collectively are responsible for the orbital signature of the Yuma area?

Because they are laying on bedrock ejecta on the rim I am guessing that they are from somewhere else on Mars and not from Santa Maria.

Joe Smith

Posts: 86

Reply: 304

PostPosted: January 16, 2011 5:09 PM 

There have been views taken that these rocks may either be ejecta or pieces of the original meteor.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 305

PostPosted: January 17, 2011 4:14 PM 

sol 2482 ( Jan 17, 2011 ) 3D saturated false color of a peculiar, peculiar rock:

and double micro-channel:

with location links.

Notice how deep the micr0-canyon is next to the bedrock on the right - and notice the meandering shallow micro-channel in the middle of the wind-swept micro-valley.

It seems to me that these features are scaled-down versions of Earth analogs of near vacuum winds moving micron sized soil particles.

What keeps the dust out of the micro-canyons?


Posts: 3062

Reply: 306

PostPosted: January 17, 2011 10:09 PM 

Hort; re. your first X-eyed image in reply 305. Those light coloured "scales" on the near side of the very very peculiar rock looks a bit similar to the rinds of the concepcion rocks to me. Hope they get a closer shot. There may be some whos there.

They definitely do not resemble the Spirit deeply surface indented meteoric rocks.



Posts: 3062

Reply: 307

PostPosted: January 17, 2011 10:16 PM 

But one portion of the rock does have some resemblance to this Spirit rock.


Joe Smith

Posts: 86

Reply: 308

PostPosted: January 18, 2011 8:59 AM 

Notice how deep the micr0-canyon is next to the bedrock on the right - and notice the meandering shallow micro-channel in the middle of the wind-swept micro-valley.hort,quote.....
It seems from what I have gatherd (and I SHOULD) go back and check before posting,,,,,the micro-canyon,,seems to be the
I will look back and find the red mark,,deprecating the target.
I could be wrong.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 309

PostPosted: January 18, 2011 12:33 PM 

Horton, Thanks for the color 3D with the double microchannel in your 305. You ask" What keeps the dust out of the micro-canyons?" Now I think I know. It is life.

There is possibly an example in that image of a phenomenon that I've found very rarely: pebble trails. (Not tails, trails.) Beyond the far end of the lesser of the two microchannels is what looks like a short shallow curved trench ending at a spherule. With just one example, it is hard to make much of it, but I have found a better example at Meridiani:

In the upper right corner, beyond the disturbance, there are about half a dozen clear examples of spherule trails in the fine material. This scene is in the bottom of Endurance Crater at the edge of the crater ripple-yard where the pebble-sized particles generally look arranged. Look especially at the area between three protruding undisturbed bright rocks to get started recognizing the trails. I hope that more examples will turn up.


Posts: 344

Reply: 310

PostPosted: January 18, 2011 12:43 PM 

If spherules are blown by the wind, maybe they could roll like ball bearings and create trails that way?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 311

PostPosted: January 18, 2011 12:45 PM 

If you follow the Flickr location links for the double micro-channel of reply 305 you will see that the micro-channels are behind the rover.

The current IDD target is Luis de Torres and I suspect it will be examined by the Mossbauer spectrometer for about a month before "moving on".

Catching up:

sol 2474 driving animation and

sol 2475 180 degree pan looking north and 180 degree pan looking south.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 312

PostPosted: January 19, 2011 3:20 PM 

Barsoomer, re your 310, We don't have a good idea how the wind acts at Meridiani, so hypothetical wind processes can be imagined to explain almost anything. The only examples of spherule trails that I have found are in the interior of Endurance Crater, and then in only a few images, so they are quite rare. Here is the second best example:

There are about 5 trails in that image, all near the bottom of the image. I find it difficult to believe that the wind would act in this way in so few locations. The rim of Endurance, for example, should experience higher winds and has plenty of spherules in fine sand, but my careful search turned up no trails. Also, some of the trails look like fairly deep depressions and some of the spherules at the ends of the trails look embedded in the sand. It is easier to imagine that the spherules might move in the wind on a hard surface.

I wasn't looking for spherule trails when I started reviewing everything a few weeks ago, so I will have to re-survey much of Meridiani with these in mind. They are an interesting development. There are lots of reasons to think that the spherules move, but one that I haven't considered for a while is simply their sphericity. How could they stay in one position for millions of years without developing any sign of biased erosion? They stay spherical because they do not stay in one position for long periods of time, IMO currently.

I'm becoming quite convinced that Life is responsible for most of the erosion at Meridiani. Here is a recent navigation camera image of Santa Maria:

The image above shows what I want to talk about, but Horton's most recent panorama of Santa Maria shows it better. If you follow the second link in Horton's 305, then the panorama I'm referring to is 2 images earlier in Horton's flickr photostream. View it at maximum size. On the right a crater slope is almost covered with a structure that looks a little like a talus slope but merges smoothly with the crater ripples below. The top of this structure disappears into a zone of coarse rocks across the top of the crater wall. To the left is an area of wall with relatively thin coatings over smooth bedrock, but with a very similar zone of coarse rock across the top of the wall. I think that the talus-slope like structure to the right is eroding the wall of Santa Maria as I write. At some time in the future it may be withdrawn leaving the underlying wall smooth and topped by rough outcrops like the wall on the left. This is a very simple theory in a way. Eventually, if the scene gets really complicated, Life becomes a simpler theory than the abiotic complexity that must be imagined. Mainstream scientists are completely stumped trying to explain the erosion of craters at Meridiani.


Posts: 1661

Reply: 313

PostPosted: January 20, 2011 10:51 PM 

latest from NASA>>>


Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Jan. 20, 2011

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status Report

Mars Sliding Behind Sun After Rover Anniversary

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:

PASADENA, Calif. -- The team operating NASA's Mars rover Opportunity will
temporarily suspend commanding for 16 days after the rover's seventh anniversary next
week, but the rover will stay busy.

For the fourth time since Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time
(Jan. 24, Pacific Time), the planets' orbits will put Mars almost directly behind the sun from
Earth's perspective.

During the days surrounding such an alignment, called a solar conjunction, the sun can
disrupt radio transmissions between Earth and Mars. To avoid the chance of a command
being corrupted by the sun and harming a spacecraft, NASA temporarily refrains from
sending commands from Earth to Mars spacecraft in orbit and on the surface. This year, the
commanding moratorium will be Jan. 27 to Feb. 11 for Opportunity, with similar periods
for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Downlinks from Mars spacecraft will continue during the conjunction period, though at a
much reduced rate. Mars-to-Earth communication does not present risk to spacecraft
safety, even if transmissions are corrupted by the sun.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will scale back its observations of Mars during the
conjunction period due to reduced capability to download data to Earth and a limit on how
much can be stored onboard.

Opportunity will continue sending data daily to the Odyssey orbiter for relay to Earth.
"Overall, we expect to receive a smaller volume of daily data from Opportunity and none at
all during the deepest four days of conjunction," said Alfonso Herrera, a rover mission
manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The rover team has developed a set of commands to be sent to Opportunity in advance so
that the rover can continue science activities during the command moratorium.

"The goal is to characterize the materials in an area that shows up with a mineralogical
signal, as seen from orbit, that's different from anywhere else Opportunity has been," said
JPL's Bruce Banerdt, project scientist for Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit. The area is
at the southeastern edge of a crater called "Santa Maria," which Opportunity approached
from the west last month.

Drives last week brought Opportunity to the position where it will spend the conjunction
period. From that position, the rover's robotic arm can reach an outcrop target called "Luis
de Torres." The rover's Moessbauer spectrometer will be placed onto the target for several
days during the conjunction to assess the types of minerals present. The instrument uses a
small amount of radioactive cobalt-57 to elicit information from the target. With a half-life
of less than a year, the cobalt has substantially depleted during Opportunity's seven years
on Mars, so readings lasting several days are necessary now to be equivalent to much
shorter readings when the mission was newer.

Opportunity will also make atmospheric measurements during the conjunction period. After
conjunction, it will spend several more days investigating Santa Maria crater before
resuming a long-term trek toward Endurance crater, which is about 22 kilometers (14 miles)
in diameter and, at its closest edge, about 6 kilometers (4 miles) from Santa Maria.

Opportunity's drives to the southeastern edge of Santa Maria brought the total distance
driven by the rover during its seventh year on Mars to 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles), which is
more than in any previous year. The rover's total odometry for its seventh anniversary is
26.7 kilometers (16.6 miles).

Opportunity and Spirit, which landed three weeks apart, successfully completed their
three-month prime missions in April 2004, then began years of bonus extended missions.
Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may
have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Spirit's most recent communication was
on March 22, 2010. On the possibility that Spirit may yet awaken from a low-power
hibernation status, NASA engineers continue to listen for a signal from that rover.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars
Exploration Rover project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

- end -



Posts: 3465

Reply: 314

PostPosted: January 21, 2011 10:56 AM 

small pebble moved by the RAT brush:

with location link of the pebble before and after the RAT brush.

What I find interesting is the small "bridge" that joins what looks like two matrix coated berries.

This feature was strong enough to hold the berries together as they were loosened and brushed out of the brush area.

I will not process these awful MI images any further until the original data is available in a year or so.


Posts: 692

Reply: 315

PostPosted: January 21, 2011 3:15 PM 

Thanks dx for the update.
Status for the conjunction January 21, 2011.

I will follow up this in intervals of a couple of days.

Psych Author Profile Page

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Reply: 316

PostPosted: January 22, 2011 1:49 PM 

That Luis is pretty rough...


Posts: 3062

Reply: 317

PostPosted: January 22, 2011 2:47 PM 

Psych; Thanks for the MI animation. Anyone else sees crinoid like forms in the brushed area?



Posts: 3062

Reply: 318

PostPosted: January 22, 2011 2:56 PM 

I forgot to comment, re. the apparent roughness, that Luiz's surface seems to resemble more the Gusev type basalt rocks than the soft Meridiani tufa or evaporite rocks. There also do not seem to be embedded berries. The berries all seem to be surficial.

Could this mean that Oppy is getting nearer to the real bedrock of Meridiani?


Psych Author Profile Page

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Reply: 319

PostPosted: January 22, 2011 4:27 PM 

I was surprised. Luis did not look that rough in the 2Ds. And the dusty crack, now, that's a micro valley...


Posts: 3465

Reply: 320

PostPosted: January 22, 2011 8:15 PM 

sol 2487 ( Jan 22, 2011 ) view of Luis de Torres:

The Mössbauer integration of the RAT brushed area is now under way.

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