MSL: Top 10 discoveries so far

Author Message
r lewis

PostPosted: November 3, 2012 11:56 PM 

OK, so MSL is approaching 90 days on mars. I dont think there have been any major science anouncements yet.

What are the top 10 discoveries so far?

As a comparison, the MER rovers had made several major discoveries in the first 90 sols. And, we also got two rovers for less than half the cost of on MSL.

So, what has all that big expensive equipment discovered so far? Have we discovered anything we did not already know?


Posts: 250

Reply: 1

PostPosted: November 4, 2012 4:40 PM 

The (visual only) discovery of remnants of an old stream bed was quite cool but for some odd reason they did run away from it without in depth studies to find some "hula hula" type soil in a small sand ripple and some MSL plastic trash.

Methane? Wrong season and landing site... Smile

Habitability? REMS seems to give a green: ground temperatures above freezing every day as well as air pressures above the tripple point of water.
No signs of mysterious super oxidants in the soil so far - Viking?

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 2

PostPosted: November 4, 2012 8:16 PM 

Wouldn't it be dramatic to include a glass bell jar just for germinating a few seeds, in the soil and atmosphere of Mars?
A little water, and it is difficult to prevent a seedling emerging from a closed container in 1-5 days. Even a stainless steel closed system would work, as most seedlings can survive without light for many days. A internal camera and a LED light bank would give a few weeks life at least, with video results returned. Then again, the lifetime of the container would be questioned, and requires return delivery to Earth to keep it 'clean'.

Of the dozen or more minerals I could identify on Mars, all were related to iron, aluminum, or calcium compounds. I notice most were never acknowledged as officially 'found' on Mars, although they were not unexpected. The Strontianite crystals in the spheroids of Opportunity recently could have been a conversation curiosity, but it was not MSL that found that as well, and it was never acknowledged.
I notice a filtration of the seeking mechanism in the actions of the MSL team. Good for some questioning, perhaps.
What happened to the bright small items and the bright object emergent from the surface at the source of the channel during the sols in the '60's?
Why no tests?
And the disk shapes nearby at the first scoop location? No pyrite or similar mineral/fossil discovery as yet?
How could a history of Mars be written without the many details evident?

r lewis

Posts: 202

Reply: 3

PostPosted: November 5, 2012 1:06 AM 

We've seen alluvial fans from orbit. Having images from the rover to confirm that is important, but this is not really a new discovery. Its really cool but not new


Posts: xxx

Reply: 4

PostPosted: November 6, 2012 12:44 AM 

I am sure there will be something, but so far I haven't seen anything that makes my hair stand on end.


Posts: 250

Reply: 5

PostPosted: November 8, 2012 5:58 AM 

r lewis, to paraphrase Jean-Pierre Bibring of the Mawrth Vallis support team in the landing site selection process: you could either "roving towards the emergence of life" or go to Gale crater... Very Happy

Some more important quotes from him:

"Our wish to see Mawrth Vallis selected for Curiosity is solely driven
by the impressive merge of results that indicate that this site does
provide by far the highest probability to meet MSL goals. Mars has
been incredibly cooperative in protecting then exposing such an
ancient and precious site to our exploration. It is now our
responsibility to take the best profit of Mawrth Vallis existing, and
ready to deliver its witness/testimony, kept over more than 4 Bys."

"If we failed to detect bio-signatures at Mawrth Vallis, it will likely
indicate that not all the ingredients were present at Mars to enable
life to emerge. On the opposite, if we decided not to land in Mawrth
Vallis, and failed to detect bio-signatures, we will regret for ever not
to have explored Mawrth Vallis."


Posts: 1661

Reply: 6

PostPosted: November 8, 2012 6:10 PM 

Well, sorry to burst your BIO-Bubble MPJ et al>>>there is NO methane nor cows on Mars.

Saying that is true, then consider the results of any methane at parts per hundred billion per c/m is enough to say that it is a mild chemical rock reaction and nothing more. Just like the wind blows in an arrangement of smoke and dust the same as ducks gather to fly South. Certainly no Martian bio exists, regardless the misadventures and thinking contrivances of the Mars Viking landers data.

Don't forget Mars does undergo a very slight and primitive environmental change all the time within itself as it orbits the Sun...not unlike any other body of rock that has little or no atmosphere or lacking outside or internal influences. [the asteroid belt objects is the case in point] Ceres and Pluto are going to be a wonderful sight to see from a taxpayer point of view!!!

The Earth has a magnetic field and a good size Moon with Earthen tides, plus a tilt to its axis causing weather changes...Mars has NO such things.

OOH, it also would be prudent to say that it would have been a very pleasant arrangement indeed if Mother Nature decided to have the Moon and Mars and even Venus as well, oriented perfectly as habitable planets circling a sun such as ours. Why, we would be on those little rocks employing marvelous technical contrivances many years ago [dumping ALL stupid backpack religions along the way too, I might add] making our little corner of the Galaxy second to none against any strange foreign alien life form out there....but, sadly to say, it does not exist nor did it happen that way!

...end of story.




Posts: xxx

Reply: 7

PostPosted: November 9, 2012 6:38 AM 

Good luck on your journey dx. Don't forget to tell us where it leads you so we can learn. Smile


Posts: 303

Reply: 8

PostPosted: November 9, 2012 3:01 PM 

NASA has an article that talks about an ancient streambed that the MSL has encountered.

"Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long ago stream's flow."



If you see anything weird in the Mars images, then don't forget to give us a holler. ..And you are right about the methane. The formaldehyde (embalming fluid) is what is really causing that big stench on Mars (at 130 nmol/mol). This is at over 13 times the concentration of Methane at 10.5 nmol/mol; see link on 'Atmosphere of Mars' at Wikipedia.


"The Mars Trace Gas Mission orbiter planned to launch in 2016 would further study the methane, as well as its decomposition products such as formaldehyde and methanol. Ammonia was also tentatively tentatively detected on Mars by the Mars Express satellite, but with its relatively short lifetime, it is not clear what produced it. Ammonia is not stable in the Martian atmosphere and breaks down after a few hours. One possible source is volcanic activity".

Somebody needs to tell all these rocks out there on Mars to stop breaking wind..




Posts: 1661

Reply: 9

PostPosted: November 11, 2012 1:22 AM 

...thanks for your comments.

I mentioned formaldehyde on Mars 8 years ago when at some point many of us were discussing 'gas types' in the Martian atmosphere-no one took an interest. Its poisonous stench of existence will be on most old rocky planets with minimum movement-its a condition of decaying rocks with thin atmospheres. If Ceres and the Pluto's out there are similar to Mars then more than likely expect the same conditions to exist as well as on old rocky worlds on distant suns. If the Moon had a thin atmosphere I'd expect the same condition to exist there too.

So you guys are sticking around are you? Well, I'm not going anywhere nor signing off at the moment.

Curiosity's images are taking care of themselves for all to view now that its 17 cameras are up and running, but if a good 3D pops up, I may investigate it for placement here on the MRB.

I am both thankful and grateful to hortonheardawho and his 'imageJ MER basics' thread that did teach me the basics in imaging the Mars photos since the beginning of April this year. It was good fun and an you both took advantage.

Funny thing about Mars-its a smaller speck of dirt than Earth circling the Sun further might miss it during a fly-by to Earth. Yet some folks talk about this 'terraform thing' [it'll never happen] its not that interesting anymore. I'm not breading contempt here just talking out loud.

Keep your eyes peeled!



Posts: xxx

Reply: 10

PostPosted: November 12, 2012 8:35 AM 

Marsman, dx I have always believed Mars is not dead and some embers of a far more active time remain.

John Henry Dough

Posts: xxx

Reply: 11

PostPosted: November 13, 2012 8:45 PM 

Kevin is correct.
We will not know till we explore,just
because we haven't found life YET,means little.

No underground exploration has been done.

I was bitterly disappointed that the MSL
did not carry an auger (drill) to sample
three or four foot below surface.

Lets do what we can to keep this small forum alive.Keep the faith.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 12

PostPosted: November 15, 2012 6:41 AM 

As the methane is released during Summer it could be that trapped gasses are released from frozen pockets in the ice just below the surface as it thaws. Equally it would be nice to think that methane is being released from dead organic material trapped in the ice during the summer thaw.
In all Summer time at Gale could prove to be quite interesting even though it is on the edge of the methane plume it will probably pick some traces. Given time I am sure we will get nearer to working out where it is and what is causing it.

(kevin: I fixed your typo - hhw)


Posts: xxx

Reply: 13

PostPosted: November 16, 2012 6:40 AM 

Many thanks Hort


Posts: xxx

Reply: 14

PostPosted: December 15, 2012 12:49 PM 

Well yeah,
I've seen something interesting.
All the knuckles are lined up.

Join the conversation:

Very Happy Smile Sad Surprised
Shocked Confused Cool Laughing
Mad Razz Embarassed Crying or Very Sad
Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil Rolling Eyes Wink
Powered by MTSmileys