berries on top of MSL?

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PostPosted: February 23, 2013 11:34 AM 

zoom in at the extreme left. Some seem to have left a trail.

Ed Minchau

Posts: 17

Reply: 1

PostPosted: February 23, 2013 1:42 PM 

That's dust. The blueberries are quite a bit bigger, about the same diameter as the cables in the image.

J. Chris Campbell

Posts: xxx

Reply: 2

PostPosted: February 23, 2013 7:10 PM 

Agreed, but Mauree keep looking at the pictures, you would be surprised at the stuff you can find that everyone else has overlooked. That is the great thing about Crowd Sourcing (the thoughts of the many average people is much much greater than the thoughts of a few extremely smart people.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 3

PostPosted: February 23, 2013 8:56 PM 

See pic, these seems bigger than the surrounding dust. Peebles maybe huh... Probably low gravity and wind can get them up there?

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 4

PostPosted: February 24, 2013 1:32 PM 

These small nearly round items are a type of spheroid or mineral grain clearly. Gray colored in the image of sol 195 that you presented.
Did these have an origin in the drilling material? I see only a couple examples in the drill tailings at the left side.
There are a number of the 'mini' berries on the rover body. Most all resemble the small objects seen embedded on the surface of the John Klein drilling location slab. Are they a direct scoop residue despite the lack of visible numbers in the drill residue?

In early images of the soil particles there were many very small and very dark to black spheroidal items loose in the surface dust. Those objects seem to not have any dust adhering for a particular reason. All other rocks and pebble sized items had a complete dust covering. These you present appear somewhat different, and appear to have similar tone and color to the dust on the rover body. They are slightly darker and appear granular, in some, as I look at your closeup.

As the dark 'mini' berries may be not related as they are from earlier locations and sol dates, are these in your topic altered dark spheroids or a by-product of the location conditions specific the new site found after descent into the bedded area of sol 120 to sol 195?

Dana Jonson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 5

PostPosted: February 24, 2013 2:51 PM 

Sol 194

Always better to look before making an entry. This is the index for sol 194, a day prior. Answer in the images. My prior entry is not the best interpretation.
Local newer scoop activity for this week, showing a vast number of mini berries in the soil.

To me this is a late stage material formed in place, but the others suggestions are depositioned water influenced with calcium sulphate viens.
Certainly a place where spheroid berries could form.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 6

PostPosted: February 25, 2013 8:02 AM 

Dana, thanks (your rock btw), that material in #5 look exactly like the one on top of MSL.

So, no surprises... just the curiosity how they got up there - maybe they're very light, plus low gravity, plus wind. What is also interesting is that small "trail" that some of them seem to have left.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 7

PostPosted: February 26, 2013 3:51 PM 

Flying berries is not a new idea on the blog, but with so little dust cover, possibly the arm movements or one of the newer 'scooping' gestures we have at sol 192 on to sol 198 is causing the 'spill' effect in some motions we cannot see in he images as yet? It does seem to be shown in the sol 194 to sol 195 views.

Surely the wind would raise a general cloud of lighter weight dust giving a heavy coating on the entire rover. I see the recent scooping of not a drill powder but a full soil sample in the past weeks daily imaging. As the small berries are in heavy concentration in the soil, it seems they have been scooping this week, and have spilled some on the rover near the 'flap' lid to the analysis chamber entry.
I thought we were looking at a teleconference indication of a drill sample processing action to solution. Have we passed through two scoop processes in a week?

The small 'berries' seem to have a sand size range, and are rough to angular, as well as granular in surface texture. Finding whether these are concretions or alteration breakdown looks to be a reasoning in addition to basic chemistry content.
Have there been any reports of the drill scoop contents as yet?
This mission has some 'family' problems, such as young rovers and the mission team wandering from home without advisement to the watching public. We will have to keep our eyes peeled on the neighborhood for wandering robots?

Do you believe they can 'back-walk' the soil and rocks to find the historical record of acids and alkaline materials or liquids, in chemistry, giving cause in the final small berries and minerals mix?

The image at entry #5 (sol 194) was just a day prior to the small items appearing on the rover views of sol 195.

Will we see a final chemistry result in both incidents of scooping? The laser testing should also provide chemistry results for our reading somewhere.

This should be some of the most significant results to date, I believe.

Late stage liquidus, alteration, or water concretions?


Posts: 1195

Reply: 8

PostPosted: February 26, 2013 9:34 PM 

On sol 192 the closeups of the soil 'berries' (spheroidal grains) were imaged by the MAHLI micro camera, and while the images are returned as red tinted one color masked and dust covered objects strewn in apparent chaos, there are repeated patterns of shapes and textures.
With other images of the week, there are both large patterns and small matching shapes of whatever the source and chemistry.
Here is a altered MAHLI example, with a sequence of altered closeups at 2x of three objects in the single micro image.
These apparently are among the soil 'berries', possibly in large number. Other patterned items are in the same image, but these reasonably match a larger object pattern I will present in the next reply entry.





This third object is more of a classic seashell shape wrapped in a decorative progressive spiral either as two objects matching shape, or one object of elaborate tandem formation and regularity.
hat is this? As less well shaped for all three objects than previous examples of larger sized items in past weeks finds, these show that the numbers of crystalline or symmetric objects could be statistically either mineral assemblies or fossil objects.



Happy hunting for other objects and more of these. Again, what are these, and are the berries tested at the analysis chamber lid, and found around the lid, the same objects checked for organic content or seashell type mineral properties?
Seems reasonable that they are in a hunt for the best samples.


Calcium sulphate or related minerals?


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Reply: 9

PostPosted: February 28, 2013 12:51 AM 

The matching patterns in large scale for two of the small items at reply # 9. Sol 192, and one of several large objects which are unusual patterns suggesting ordered materials.




Additional item which we would suspect on Earth was worthy of close study. Inset is at 2x, altered.


2x enlargement, altered, 0192ml1019011000e1dxxx


We have small spheroidal objects of a variety of shapes, some patterned unlike the MER type spheroid 'berries', and large multi-component objects which are either crystalline or controlled in ordered formation.

Were these the reason for a new scooping investigation of the sol 190 to sol 198 period and location?

Was the calcium sulphate of the prior weeks scooping confirmed for both groups of rocks or whatever we are viewing?

Are these more than the routine rocks of the three recent rovers?

What was the chemistry of these past two weeks, in the laser, SAM, and ChemMin instruments?


Posts: 250

Reply: 10

PostPosted: February 28, 2013 5:33 AM 

Dana, the object which you presented above is visible in the sol 192 pan as well:

Cant see anything too special in it except it has been digged up from under the dislodged rock.


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Reply: 11

PostPosted: March 2, 2013 7:41 AM 

They seem to have been here for a couple weeks, studying the calcium sulphate claim, with the petaled items and the disk shapes all around.
Was it testing or shapes they were studying?


Posts: 1195

Reply: 12

PostPosted: March 2, 2013 6:32 PM 

The view as of sol 200.


Are we again looking at mineral crystalline shapes, or are we seeing a by-product of something prior to the local crater formation?

Would any content be recognizable from the landscape prior to Gale crater formation?

The local rocks are showing undercutting in shape.

When I found somewhat similar petaled shaped crystals of calcium in the Mojave desert, the local geology was of Cambrian Stromatolites and similar fossils in adjacent contactual and nearby formations. As Earth is far more active in mixing content and altering landscapes, we would expect the question to be open until detailed information is found.

Any test results reported as yet?


Posts: 1195

Reply: 13

PostPosted: March 3, 2013 12:46 AM 

It is remarkable how much your image improves the retention of detail from the original. It is at least 4x the content of my enlargement.
At risk of offending yourself or another source, I have enlarged it nearly 2x and reset the color balance to 'auto' in my editor, then saturated color 6 points. Comparing the two gives the same color content for items in the scene, but your textures and resolution are so much better. I can dispose of this altered view if you prefer. Thought to present it here for your comparison to my earlier image.
Seeing additional detail, I would not believe this to be similar to my memory of a large calcium based crystal rock from the desert. This is very distinct and has several components of order and content which are each appearing as separate materials related by a system of order overall. In this view the object is complex, and not all in one piece. It appears pieces have been broken away and disordered.
Would we call this a non-organic series of inter-related materials or a singular ordering of multiple materials with a more complex system probable at a smaller scale?
With the laser, each section could be tested for content. Will it be tried?
Looks similar to a Pacific Abalone basic shape. The central 'stem' has two equal thickness sections still attached. One or more is along side the core, appearing broken from the viewed central positioned object. The center of the 'stem' is rather ordered and detailed in your image, and has further detailed order as a pattern even in that core portion.
Can we find a similar object on Earth which is non-organic? Order from the core to the outer different single color oval mass which is not showing fluid or color variation of content in the distinct material comprising the outer portion. Varied materials which are distinct yet envelope the other materials in inter-related patterns conditioned by the margins of each material.

With some 3D viewing we might find greater elaboration or more textural detail.

Looks somewhat similar to what was found in the spheroids at Opportunity recently, where clays were identified. A core 'stem', a rosette pattern, and a spheroidal outer containment. A larger object at Curiosity.



If this conflicts with a copyright claim I can retract the altered image comparison.. It was presented here to allow the darker original details to be seen.

Are these materials and order matching the small spheroids of the soil in the area?

Do the small items on the rover body match these shapes or materials?

Do the small disk shapes in the soil I presented match the central core details of this larger object?

Is this a single object as it appears?


Posts: 250

Reply: 14

PostPosted: March 3, 2013 2:51 PM 

Dana, feel free to use any image works I provide online - if you or anybody else want to use it for public presentations/papers and the like don't forget to add credits to NASA/JPL as the source no (as per their rules of using imagery) though. Actually one of my astro-bio peers in Europe currently use some of my improved MSL imagery for an article/paper (those asking the same question). Topic is still confidential but I hope it is related to the pale blue/green "bubble mats" on the bedrock and wrapping around smaller rocks in Martian Yellowknife Bay... Smile

By the way, I too was surprised by how much the low quality MSL "raw images" can be enhanced to show some real detail even after enlarging. I think Adobes Photoshop software (I use the CS4) really has a good grip on that kind of more or less consumer style color imaging of the Mastcams. I really hope the MSL mission planners have such views for choosing targets as well - try one of my sol 192 panos on a large full HD monitor in fullscreen mode! Its like kneeling in person on those Martian dirt. Only drawback - as Horton always mention for good reasons as well - is the lack of full resolution color 3D capabilities of the Mastcam system with fixed different focal lengths of both eyes. Confused

Here is my Gigapan page:

Regarding your specific observation: I can only say that I got the impression Yellowknife Bay could be/show an ancient (fossilized) cold water coral reef - too many coincidences so lets wait for the SAM data and real raw image data release. I will surely get back to Sol 192 when the real raw data is released! Wink


Posts: 1195

Reply: 15

PostPosted: March 4, 2013 4:22 AM 

These do seem to be very well differentiated, shaped, and possibly formed as two or three adjacent objects with the stem formations.

I noticed these are similar to larger shapes and patterned erosion exposed objects which clearly have same to similar parts both in Gale crater and at the polar 'Spider' zones of Mars. The core of erosion spots seem to be the locations for these. I had always wondered if we would find calcium minerals as the basis for the 'softer' or less tough characteristics for the spots. Whatever causes the erosion and elaborate concentrations of chemistry allowing selective erosion/alteration, they have in some spots these patterns of central core which is tougher, or resistant, outer petals, and either a central core or somewhat off sided core, with circular to oval outer domain.
Below is the example I found at the West of the current landing zone for Curiosity MSL. This is tens of feet across. Whether mineral or former living objects they are an opportunity for historical elaboration of the selective chemistry over time to be studied for former life or geology processes, and give us a closeup view here for seeing the possibility that these are common at small sizes. We now need the macro and micro capabilities we would use on Earth, and a chance to slab or polish samples for viewing in various ways. There will never be a substitute for human exploration.
Hopefully MSL can recover full functioning and proceed to give us a chemistry readout.
We may see a masked content for these as they may have been steeped in later liquids over time.
Formed in place. apparently, but even that is presumption perhaps?


From the HiRISE original, ESP_018854_1755
location, X=9200 Y=49000 Size 2 to 1
color image, IRB

Many living objects on Earth grow that large, so size is not a limiting factor in estimating identification.
These have a similarity to the berries with stems, which also had petaled outer margin components in some percentages.
Sampling parts of these would allow application to other locations in satellite images or rover pass-by's.
Would these form if berries were involved at this scale, and our viewing not see the berries due to erosion? Possibly some have no berries, or the assumption of a continuous formation set of parts is in error on my part. Possibly the larger petaled structures are not related despite percentages of associated berries with similar components?

Will we find the answers at Gale crater?

Those satellite views were currently on my image host at page six, but the count changes as I add images as the host counts from the earliest images, giving a rising count position in the list.

Looking forward to reading your acquaintances paper in the future, and seeing more of these with some detailed chemistry and a greater number of samples to study. A few of the answers of Mars history revealed.

Can we see sufficient detail to associate the tiny berry spheroids on the rover with these petals and other details with the MAHLI camera? Possibly they have formed in the same timing as the larger examples.
Are we looking at a range of timing at this area of Gale crater? The trough of liquid transport, reported as a stream bed with cobble layered sides would indicate a long time for formation of the landscape. Varied timing for various spheroids and these petaled shapes may be possible.

The first image at reply 9 shows an apparent horizontal item sectioned, but continuous, similar to the stems.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 16

PostPosted: March 12, 2013 8:54 PM 

The MSL news of March 2013 confirming a habitable environment on Mars at Gale crater area included finding some of the key chemicals of life's components, and added to the intrigue of combination chemistry which could fuel microbes, providing a foundation for the long term study of the many items found and assembled on the traverse.

The conference release had many aspect support content ingredients. It did not announce the find of life at Gale, but seems to have put nails in the foundation of the search.



Posts: xxx

Reply: 17

PostPosted: March 13, 2013 8:36 AM 

These are exciting times!

I wish the experts on this forum would be able to ask questions during NASA conferences. They would be much more informative. Dana could you call in next time Very Happy

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 18

PostPosted: March 14, 2013 7:17 PM 

ref., your #17,

During the last Feb 20 announcement teleconference I tried to use the real time chat room operation which was just after the presentation, but my question asked was not fully answered. It occurred just as they decided to shut the chat room down in a flash. I had asked if the laser and detailed SAM instrument results would be published after a brief delay for subsequent public scrutiny and long term research. The initial brief answer was that the 'Scientists' would have access to the MSL Curiosity results in detail, and the public would have the teleconference and PDS catalog collection to view as a substitute to actual research details. We will never know much of the resultant space science results of the MSL mission, it seems.

Just at the point of requesting an index page or 'Analysts Notebook' equivalent access, we found the chat system disconnected and not functioning further.

That was my short journey in professional science.
I am now retired it seems.
I no longer can chat it up with the pro's.

I hope the the fields of Mars are littered with items the public can see in simple photos.

It will help if you each clamor for public 'Open Access' to future space mission results. The wall of silence or opaqueness will come down if the noise level is sufficient.

It is a story like so many others over the centuries of public science efforts.

Much of science is considered private property to be dispensed to a few, and sold to businesses. That is a world-wide problem.

Again, happy hunting to everyone, all around the world.

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