Exploration of Cape York - Vol 4

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PostPosted: May 9, 2012 4:10 AM 

sol 2947 ( May 9, 2012 ):

Oppy moved about 3 meters away from Greeley Haven, so I don't think this was just a "bump".

We're underway again, so it's time for a new volume.

Here is the previous volume.

In case you missed it on the last volume:


see reply 700 for comments.


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PostPosted: May 9, 2012 4:18 AM 

Headed south first?


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PostPosted: May 9, 2012 4:28 AM 

Doh! It's been so long since there was any driving I forgot that most of Oppy's movement is backwards - so -- headed north.


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PostPosted: May 9, 2012 6:04 AM 

Latest Road to Endeavour Blog Post with a nice interview with a Rover Planner:



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PostPosted: May 9, 2012 11:07 AM 


Stu interview with Paolo.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2012 11:01 AM 

sol 2948 ( May 10, 2012 ) L0 3x1 in next drive direction:

No plan yet downloaded for sol 2949.

sol 4948 ( May 10, 2012 ) 3D of left front wheel location at Greeley Haven:

with location link.

Here is how I determined that the bright white spot was the wheel location before the unexpected movement:

See the Flickr comments for an explanation of the location calculation.

I am really excited by this. I will use the database from the pancam tracking site to get the additional information necessary to construct an infrared spectrum from the JPG data.

I speculated it was sublimating ice under the wheel that caused the wheel movement - and I think it is a hypothesis that may stand up under all the evidence - no matter how "looney" it sounds.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2012 1:56 PM 

sol 2795-2948 ( Dec 4, 2011 - May 10, 2012 ) animation of changes near the Greeley Haven left front wheel position:

The images were affine registered.

Say, are all of you in Philadelphia at a Shriners Convention?

My Flickr image hits have dropped from 1500 a day to 300 a day and only Barsoomer has commented on this thread.

I know the rock guys have taken their marbles ( and gypsums ) and gone home, but what about the rest of you?


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PostPosted: May 10, 2012 6:45 PM 

This rock guy is still here!
Keep up the fabulous images - it's still the main reason to come here.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2012 8:22 PM 

Hort; I've been lurking only, as I was very busy on another project that is not Mars related.

Would be very happy if you could prove that it is indeed sublimating ice from under Oppy's wheels. The affine registered images have to be very closely examined to show that they are indeed images of the same area separated by 153 days and by the movement of the rover over it dislodging many of the rocks that were originally there. A close look shows that it is indeed the same area. I did some spectra a few months ago that suggested that there was a white material, but not necessarily ice, on the surface at a few sites near the rover.

Ice would be a magnificent find and could explain some of the interesting textures seen in some of the MI's if surface ice is a regular feature of the area emanating from the sub surface or even from the atmosphere and supporting putative microbial growth / survival over long periods of time.



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PostPosted: May 11, 2012 8:26 AM 

sol 2949 ( May 11, 2012 ) 2x1 L0 panorama in the next drive direction:

with a detail link to a 3x1 R2 pan.

According to the sol 2941 update:

The plan ahead is first to drive toward a nearby putative dusty target to examine the nature and origin of Martian dust, then locate a wider, light-toned vein around the north end of Cape York for further in-situ investigation, among other objectives.


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PostPosted: May 13, 2012 9:08 AM 

sol 2951 ( May 13, 2012 ) saturated false color pan of tracks in a "North Pole" dust dune:

with location links back to:

Yikes! I can remember when such places were avoided.

Where would you place the APXS and MI?

So many choices - so little time.


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PostPosted: May 13, 2012 11:28 PM 

Hort; I can't help thinking when I see your reply #9 post, that something is missing from the usual analysis of the tracks in images like that one.

The berries or pebbles are, afaik, supposed to be discrete hard small objects, right?

When crushed into the ground they should remain as discrete hard objects, right?

They should retain the same colour as the undisturbed pebbles or whatever, right?

Why then does the flattened track surface exhibit a different blue colour to the berries or whatever?

Why is that differently coloured surface layer diffuse and flat rather than discrete?

Why does the discolouration look like one would expect a very transient discharge of a blue liquid, followed by rapid sublimation, to look, following disturbance of a sub surface layer by the rover wheels and compaction of the surface?

We have seen perhaps scores of such tracks by Oppy and even Spirit and they all look the same.

Could it be that there is indeed a liquid or briny layer just beneath the surface, filled with salts and that the water phase in this layer, when exposed, sublimes leaving a fine deposit of salts mixed with the reddish surface dust, patterned in a way that suggests leaking of the liquid prior to sublimation?

Could there be also a suggestion that the surface pebbles are not as hard as we have taken them to be?

I miss Serpens. He would have put me straight on this misconception. Perhaps Newboy can help.



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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 9:34 AM 

sol 2951-2953 ( May 13-15, 2012 ) animation of track changes:

see Flickr comments for a comment.


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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 3:41 PM 

sol 2949-2951 L257 view of "North Pole":

After today's drive ( sol 2953 ) the drive index advanced from BRAG to BRB9 for a change of 29 - which should be a move around 6 meters. But six meters forward would put Oppy square in the middle of the dune!?? So I'm guessing Oppy moved back a bit and backtracked along the track and then turned to face the most interesting ( to me ) part of the track: the "white to red" area highlighted in reply 12.

We should get see the downlinked drive images later today.


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Reply: 14

PostPosted: May 15, 2012 4:36 PM 

sol 2953 ( May 15, 2012 ) 3D of new tracks in North Pole dust dune:

Er, the move images were already posted. Looks like most of the wheel movement was "scuffing" new tracks in the dust.

Perhaps the plan is to watch the tracks in the shadow of the rover for changes?

Perhaps the plan is a time series as the sun creeps into the shaded areas tomorrow?

Let me check if there is a sol 2954 plan yet... Nope.


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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 6:10 PM 

Hort; re. your reply #14. Isn't it from red to white, not the other way around according to your gif at #12?

Hope they are indeed studying track changes. It might suggest that they are at last looking to see if there might be changes in the hydration of exposed salts with time of exposure. If so look for some full suites of filters (L and R) of this area over a few days. If they move on quickly they aren't.



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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 6:26 PM 

er, Winston, the "white" areas are in the image labelled 2951 and turned "red" in the 2953 images.


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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 6:42 PM 

Hort; Looks like i'm seeing things. When I looked again the the white crystals were in 2951 and absent from 2953 as they should have been. I hope that you changed the images as otherwise I would really be seeing things that are not there.

Anyhow, perhaps one of the most important images made so far. Those white crystals that are in the 2951 tracks look the part and their dissapearance 2 sols later should be close to clincher.



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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 6:48 PM 

Hort; my post crossed with yours. I don't know what happened. I don't know if there was some sort of delay in my viewing the label and then viewing the gif as I could swear that the white crystals were in the sol 2953 image only. When I separated the images in imageJ and made a montage it was then obvious that the sol 2951 image was the one with the white specks only.

Great image and perhaps very significant observation.



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PostPosted: May 15, 2012 8:15 PM 


The Blue area has also dissipated in area and depth of coverage over the 2 sols as well



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PostPosted: May 16, 2012 8:58 AM 

An important feature of the reply 12 images is they were taken only 7 minutes LST apart, so the illumination was the same to within a couple of degrees. And if you look carefully then you can see the shadows were almost exactly the same in the two images - so the changes can not be attributed to lighting changes.

Also there are areas all around the white areas that changed to red that were already red in the first image - so the changes are not due to image processing - or optical aberrations.

The changes are real - and need explanation.

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