On the Road Again - volume 8 - Page 12

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Posts: 3465

Reply: 221

PostPosted: May 15, 2011 5:01 PM 

sol 2597 ( May 15, 2011 ) L2 4x1 in next drive direction:

with location link.

Based on the distance to the major trench ahead ( 38 meters ) my guestimate for the sol 2596 drive is now 155 meters. That puts Oppy 248 meters from the sol 2594 location.


Posts: 5

Reply: 222

PostPosted: May 15, 2011 7:11 PM 

Kye; Could it be that after the berries get one layer deep in a depression the wind can no longer swirl them and further erosion is halted ??


Posts: 3062

Reply: 223

PostPosted: May 16, 2011 8:21 AM 

Ben. The images don't appear to show that. The berries are almost always oriented in a highly patterned fashion with significant spaces between individual berries that could be filled with other berries if wind were randomly pushing them together. They aren't lumped together and seemingly protecting the surface from further erosion.



Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 224

PostPosted: May 16, 2011 2:20 PM 

Ben, re your 222, There are no spherule deposits more than one deep. OK, I can't know that for sure, but I challenge anyone to find a single clear example of piled spherules in the library (or several suggestive examples). I just don't think that the spherules are directly moved by wind EVER or these scenes on the rim of Endurance would be impossible:

There does not appear to be enough soil here to hide deeper deposits of spherules, just a thin uniform layer no more than the thickness of a spherule or two. I think that a wind strong enough to move these berries would destroy this order immediately and forever, unless some entirely different process could slowly re-establish the uniformity. And then look down the other, steeper slope into the crater:

I think that the last two images amount to proof that the spherules cannot ever be moved by wind. It seems that gravity may not ever mobilize them either. How they have come to be perched on these slopes, sometimes even perched on the sloped tops of projecting rocks (second image), is a mystery that deserves some attention.


Posts: 1661

Reply: 225

PostPosted: May 16, 2011 10:24 PM 

...does anyone think the berries can float in water or some other Martian liquid here on the Plain? Evaporation may set the berries up for their random placement as we see it today.



Posts: 344

Reply: 226

PostPosted: May 16, 2011 10:58 PM 

Just above the rover, a U-shaped ripple? (Could be an illusion.)

Just above that, a bunch of stuff looking like a junk heap, or flotsam and jetsam washed up on shore, then larger ripples than we have seen for a while.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 227

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 7:23 AM 

It is now sol 2599 09:50 LST and today's drive should start within in an hour or so.

The next crater "hop" "Young Blocky" should start to shape up in the next drive direction pancams - if the drive is a healthy 150+ or so meter drive.

Barsoomer, the debris in your reply 226 is part of the skylab crater ejecta that I called the "drop and column" in reply 186.

Well, I see everyone missed the whole point of the "parking lot" blueberry patterns.

I can imagine a mechanism ( either "recent" wind and gravity driven forces - or "past" chemical reactions ) that would align the berries in one dimension - but not one that would align them in two dimensions in neat rows and columns without some sense of "self" and "other" and "competition" - ie, life.

Aren't you glad you can post on a board that will not call you a lunatic and ban you for suggesting such things?

I think a big round of thanks is due Mark Carey.

Thanks Mark, wherever you are, for providing this place for such a very long time now.


Posts: 1661

Reply: 228

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 8:31 AM 


Agreed>>>Big thank you to Mark Carey for continuing this site, totally unabated.

Very Happy


Posts: 73

Reply: 229

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 9:06 AM 

Just because the berries display an organized pattern that suggest biology does not change the fact that liquid water does move them from time to time.

robert gorkin

Posts: xxx

Reply: 230

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 1:58 PM 


I'm not sure if I am pointing out the obvious, but if you look closely it appears that there is an underlying (pre-existing?) checkerboard grid in the rock substrate. This is most clearly shown in the upper photo pair of reply 203 especially in the lower right corner


Posts: 3465

Reply: 231

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 2:21 PM 

Hi robert gorkin. Nice observation.

Yes, there is "checkerboard" grid in the bedrock in the lower right corner.

I think it may be a "JPG artifact".

The "raw" images we have access to are 8 bit JPG images created by JPL with a fair amount of processing from the original data. I did a fair amount of processing ( square root brightness transform, vignetting mask, scaling and final contrast and brightness tweaking ) - so only features that appear resolved in 3D may be "real".

I had to look at the images at 2X to see the grid - which means the final images were scaled a total of 4X the original scaling.

Hopefully, the original 12 bit data was "lossless" so that we can examine the images in about 6 months and see if the grid is really "real".

Here is a grid that I think is "real".


Posts: 3465

Reply: 232

PostPosted: May 17, 2011 4:43 PM 

sol 2597 ( May 15, 2011 ) "stamp" L7R4 synthetic color sunset over Meridiani Plain, Mars:

I never get tired of sunsets.

Hopefully, the sunset sequence and other science images collected over the past few weeks will be downlinked "soon" - maybe during the science stop at "young blocky" crater?

Today's drive images ( sol 2599 ) should be posted to Exploratorium in five hours or so.

The drive index changed from B900 to B9HA on today's drive, so I'm guessing an 80-90 meter drive.

robert gorkin

Posts: xxx

Reply: 233

PostPosted: May 18, 2011 12:21 AM 

Hello Horton,

Thank you for your response. The "here" link photos certainly appear to provide evidence beyond what could be considered merely artefactual.

Back to the photos of reply 203. I agree that a JPG artifact explanation for the apparent grid is likely. Are the following observations/questions worth contemplating and consistent with the JPG artifact explanation?:

1. The putative artifact "squares" appear to be at least as big, if not bigger, than the berries which we know are "real".

2. The berries themselves do not obviously appear to be "quadrilaterlized". (At least not unequivocally so to my unaided, and unfortunately, aging eyes.)

3. Is there an a priori expectation that the axes of the pixillation grid be oriented NE-SW and NW-SE as in the photo? What determines this? And if the berries, on a closer exam than mine, turn out to be distorted are the distortion axes consistent with those of the "squares"?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 234

PostPosted: May 18, 2011 10:11 AM 

It is now sol 2600 11:55 LST and the sol 2600 drive should now be underway.

The sol 2599 next drive direction images were not posted to Exploratorium. The "stamp" images show more of the same.

robert gorkin, JPG compression produces a variety of image artifacts - depending on the compression ratio.

The best policy is not to trust fine details in JPG - or any other "lossy" format - including the ICER format.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 235

PostPosted: May 18, 2011 4:36 PM 

sol 2599 ( May 17, 2011 ) L2 3x1 in next drive direction:

with a location link.

The crater ahead ( right side, 12 pixels below the horizon - young blocky? ) is about 12 meters in diameter and 500 meters away.

Today's ( sol 2600 ) drive index changed from B9HA to B9UY for a guestimated 118 meters drive.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 236

PostPosted: May 19, 2011 6:05 PM 

Oops. The sol 2601 drive was from B9UY to B9YC - about 25-30 meters only.

If you look carefully at the sol 2600 traverse map you can see a small 3.5 meter crater on the "next drive direction" heading of 126 degrees about 27.5 meters away.

Did Oppy get stuck in the crater?

Still no images posted on Exploratorium for sol 2600 ( B9UY ).

Here is the sol 2600 "stamp" L2 3x1 in the next drive direction:

Yep. There's a crater.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 237

PostPosted: May 20, 2011 9:14 AM 

sol 2601 ( May 19, 2011 ) "stamp" 3D Hazcam views:

with a link to the guestimated map position.

I can't see any slipping or trenching, so I don't think Oppy is "stuck". Maybe a "tilt" fault? Perhaps this was just a drive to squeeze in a few more meters of travel before the next long drive?

It is already sol 2602 9:40 LST and no drive plan has yet been posted - so I'm guessing this was a drive fault. ( please, please not a wheel fault! )

Speaking of mysteries, the sols 2595-2600 update says:

...On the next sol ( sol 2600 ) , the rover drove over 112 meters (367 feet) with a dog-leg maneuver mid-drive so close-up imaging of a crater could be done

Yes, there was a middrive navcam 3x1 pan of a "dune" crater ( not yet posted ) - but I can see nothing in the HiRise images that marks this crater as unusual enough to make a detour to photograph it.

Does anyone else see anything unusual about the crater just north of the sol 2600 "dogleg"?


Posts: 3465

Reply: 238

PostPosted: May 20, 2011 1:25 PM 


From marsroverdriver a few minutes ago:

Last drive cut short (~ 30m) by a very rare Single-Event Upset (SEU) -- a cosmic ray flipped a bit in the FPGAs. Oppy's OK & driving again.


Posts: 1661

Reply: 239

PostPosted: May 20, 2011 1:43 PM 


I'd like to answer your Q in 237 but I honestly can not stand either the front or rear hazcams...the images mean absolutely nothing to me. Curved bubble or fish-eye lens are a complete aberration-I have never enjoyed them nor see anything of value in them.

Whenever you show them I go back to the NASA link>>> [link] and try to find an accompanying photo from the Nav-cam or Pan-cam and try to understand what you are saying. Hey, I very much appreciate your work offerings here like anyone else but those 2 cams for me are useless and a waste.

Trust they are not on Curiosity.

Trust you don't mind my blind eye either.

dx Wink


Posts: 3465

Reply: 240

PostPosted: May 21, 2011 9:59 AM 

It is sol 2603 and today's drive should begin within the hour. No images posted to Exploratorium for the last 3 days and nothing to the official MER site after sol 2599.

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