Tribulation Trail

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PostPosted: April 25, 2014 8:03 AM 

Time for a new topic.

Sol 3644 ( Apr 25, 2014 ) panorama in the next drive direction looking south towards Cape Tribulation:


The drive was from CC0J to CC3O - about 20 meters.

The last topic on Oppy's journey was Solander Point.


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Reply: 1

PostPosted: April 25, 2014 9:25 AM 

Sol 3644 ( Apr 25, 2014 ) panorama in the next drive direction:

I am betting that the next few drives will be Looong drives ( 60-100 meters )


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Reply: 2

PostPosted: April 27, 2014 2:27 AM 

I'm thinking it may not have been wind that cleaned the solar panels so dramatically. If frost formed at night and partly melted after sunrise, it could have cleaned the panels, especially if the rover was tilted. (Frost would have mostly sublimed but at the base of the frost, there might have been a trickle of water.) The extremely low tau might also be due to higher humidity.

I think this is the time of year when moisture would be migrating from one pole to the other, and passing over equatorial areas along the way.


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Reply: 3

PostPosted: April 28, 2014 11:51 AM

keep an eye out for holes.

Kye Goodwin

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Reply: 4

PostPosted: April 28, 2014 9:29 PM 

These structures look something like wind ripples, but they're not wind ripples. I've done my improv 3D and yes that unrounded centimetre-scale gravel is well up on their slopes:

Those structures aren't wind ripples, and NASA is so incurious about present-day Mars that we have NO IDEA what they are, even after ten years on the planet.


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Reply: 5

PostPosted: April 29, 2014 1:26 AM 

Another MAHLI selfie coming down.

I have this theory that the team takes these sentimental little pictures to "humanize" and memorialize what they know is a significant scientific discovery on Mars, namely where we as a species were when they discovered more about life on Mars. Kinda like the whole selfie from Saturn thing. Or the Pale Blue Dot. You are here. Also akin to a yearbook picture in which you can look back later, say, when they finally get around to confirming beyond a metaphysical doubt what they already know beyond a reasonable doubt, ie., there was life on Mars, and see remember that moment time when they added to their knowledge of this ancient life.

Note I said "what they know." Grotzinger says it himself: "Yes, finding the right geological place [John Klein] was something that we did very deliberately ... [a]ll the signs were directing us towards this area." He goes on to say about John Klein "Grotzinger said, "In principle, this is an ideal kind of habitable environment for microbes, so we feel really good about that. IT'S THE KIND OF THAT THAT YOU LOOK AT AND YOU REALIZE AS A TEAM THAT WE REALLY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO SOMETHING PRETTY PROFOUND. We benefited from all those that came before us."

In support, it seems like on this mission, every time they drill or break out the APXS (ie., using the scientific instruments), they take a sentimental picture.

ROCKNEST SELFIE = organics (APXS, CheMin, SAM) **Note: This is when Grotzinger made his "for the history books" comment.

JOHN KLEIN SELFIE = habitable (APXS, drill, CheMin, SAM)
** Note: Grotzinger said, "In principle, this is an ideal kind of habitable environment for microbes, so we feel really good about that. It's the kind of thing that you look at and you realize as a team that we really have been able to do something pretty profound. We benefited from all those that came before us."

DINGO GAP IMAGE OF EARTH IN MARTIAN SKY = verify Rocknest results? (used APXS 2 sols after)

KIMBERLEY SELFIE = verify John Klein results? (APXS, drill, CheMin, SAM)

They aren't doing this blind. They know there was ancient life but they can't prove it beyond all doubt until a sample return. So they are doing it this way: making a record over the course of decades, which on their own are probably proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to bolster the sample return results. Thus, proof beyond all doubt.


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PostPosted: April 29, 2014 1:26 AM 

Wrong thread. Please move to the latest MSL thread.


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Reply: 7

PostPosted: April 29, 2014 5:51 AM 

Wildcat I am sure Hort will move this post but well said.


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Reply: 8

PostPosted: April 29, 2014 9:14 AM 

sol 3644 ( Apr 25, 2014 ) natural color 3X3 panorana of Lunokhod 2 crater:

I wonder what's happened to Oppy? It is now sol 3648.7 and Oppy hasn't moved or sent any new pictures since sol 3644.

2. What EDRs do we have on the ground from sol 3645, 3646, 3647, 3648?

Actual number of EDRs by sequence number and image type:

Sol Seq.Ver ETH ESF EDN EFF ERP Tot Description
----- -------- --- --- --- --- --- ---- -----------
03645 p2601.05 0 0 0 0 0 0 pancam_tau_L78R48
03646 p0695.03 0 0 0 0 0 0 navcam_5x1_az_162_3_bpp
03646 p1211.03 0 0 0 0 0 0 ultimate_front_haz_1_bpp_pri_15
03646 p1234.06 0 0 0 0 0 0 front_haz_fault_half_pri15_4bpp
03646 p1254.02 0 0 0 0 0 0 front_haz_fault_pri15_4bpp
03646 p1271.01 0 0 0 0 0 0 front_haz_2bpp_pri_23
03646 p1311.07 0 0 0 0 0 0 rear_haz_ultimate_1_bpp_crit15
03646 p1334.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 rear_haz_fault_half_pri15_4bpp
03646 p1354.01 0 0 0 0 0 0 rear_haz_fault_pri15_4bpp
03646 p1371.01 0 0 0 0 0 0 rear_haz_1bpp_pri_23
03647 p1550.01 0 0 0 0 0 0 navcam_tau
03648 p2601.05 0 0 0 0 0 0 pancam_tau_L78R48
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0

Notice that there was a planned move on sol 3646.

The sol 3636-3644 update mentions elevated wheel currents.

Perhaps Oppy is resting while the engineers try to figure out what to do?

BTW, Wildcat, I don't have any way to move comments between topics. Mark Carey, the owner of the site, gave me only limited access to his blog software.

As it stands, much of the conclusions in reply 5 also applies to Oppy - so it fits here too.


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Reply: 9

PostPosted: May 4, 2014 8:58 AM 

May 2 update at Field Notes from Mars.


"Being on the rim of Endeavour Crater, we've seen that we're cleaner when we're on the windward side of Murray Ridge as opposed to the leeward side," "So, we have a hunch that when we need more cleaning next winter, we may be able to intentionally design where we explore and take Opportunity."


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Reply: 10

PostPosted: May 4, 2014 3:55 PM 

Sol 3653 ( May 4, 2014 ) panorama in the next drive direction:

This appears to be the "AL-OH feature" referenced in the May 2 Field Notes from Mars:

Opportunity is closing in on the next important outcrop area here on the rim of Endeavour crater. The outcrops just a hundred meters ahead have been identified from orbital remote sensing as having a strong Aluminum hydroxide feature. So these are probably going to be interesting outcrops one way or another.

Here is the sol 3650 view:

A quick read on Bauxite was interesting - especially it's formation in association with carbonate rocks.

BTW, the sundial stain is gone yet again:


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Reply: 11

PostPosted: May 4, 2014 4:05 PM 

Forgot to post this sol 3652 MI pan:

It doesn't seem to have any novelty.


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Reply: 12

PostPosted: May 4, 2014 5:09 PM 


Its an MI pan of soil and there are no berries there. That's a novelty of sorts for Meridiani.



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Reply: 13

PostPosted: May 6, 2014 8:16 AM 

Sol 3652 ( May 3, 2014 ) colorized MI closeup panorama of soil on the rim of Endeavour:

with location links back to a sol 3652 HiRise Map.

Yes, Winston - no berries. Perhaps the location is too high up on the rim for many ( if any ) Meridiani berries to be found.

And I'm sure the rock guys would be excited to have even a handful of these small rocks - each one a treasure.

On a totally unrelated subject one of the strangest ever sequences of sundial images were taken on sol 3654:

26 images were rapidly taken through the R1,R2,R6 and R7 filters. I wonder exactly what detailed feature near the sundial was of interest in the infrared?

Perhaps the dusting of yellow / white dust on the sundial ball?

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 14

PostPosted: May 6, 2014 12:28 PM 

Horton, thanks for the closeup mosaic in your 13. It is the surface of another impossible wind ripple:

Did anyone else notice the soil disturbance, bottom center in Horton's mosaic? This area is well away from the wheel tracks but the operators might have touched it with the tool arm while getting into position for the MIs. On the other hand since these "wind ripples" are impossible maybe the disturbance represents the addition of material underneath the pebbles. Its hard to imagine how these "ripples" could grow by wind action unless somehow wind-delivered material is being added underneath the armour. I wonder if there is any variation in granularity through these structures that might help to explain their origin. I wonder if we'll ever get curious enough to look.


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Reply: 15

PostPosted: May 7, 2014 10:29 PM 

Sol 3655 ( May 6, 2014 ) natural color closeup of rock outcrop:

This new outcrop texture reminds me of the Whitewater outcrop on Cape York:


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Reply: 16

PostPosted: May 8, 2014 9:24 AM 

Sol 3655 ( May 6, 2014 ) false color panorama of rock outcrop just before a few meters move to the target of reply 15:

Today's plan ( sol 3657 ) is an MI pan and APXS of the outcrop.


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Reply: 17

PostPosted: May 8, 2014 4:18 PM 

Ah. The puzzle of Oppy's silence mentioned in reply 8 is explained. From the Sol 3645-3649 ( Apr 25-30, 2014 ) Update:

On Sol 3645 (April 25, 2014), Opportunity experienced a reset caused by write errors in flash (non-volatile) memory. As a result, the rover halted the sol's planned activities and waited for instructions from the ground. On Sol 3648 (April 29, 2014), the rover team sent commands to Opportunity to clear the fault conditions, to initialize both the high-gain antenna and the Pancam Mast Assembly, and to resume normal sequence control. Flash-induced resets have been seen three times before on Opportunity. Engineers are investigating the possible cause.

Hope these bouts of rover amnesia are not ominous signs of computer failure.

It is amusing to note that Oppy's computer has lasted longer than my last desktop PC -even though I didn't abuse it 1/10th as much as Mars did Oppy.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 18

PostPosted: May 10, 2014 8:53 PM 

I couldn't make sense of this structure without 3D. Given appropriate images, like left and right navcam images, I do cross-eyed 3D by cropping and panning the windows to look at the area of interest. For some reason the left image always goes on the right and the right image on the left:

Maybe everyone's already onto this trick. Anyway, it turns out that the bright soil structure, lower right in both images, between bedrock and darker soil, is a depressed microchannel with one sloped bank of bright soil and a sharp little trench at the deepest point. Recent soil subsidence into trenches is common and widespread in tropical Mars.


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Reply: 19

PostPosted: May 10, 2014 8:53 PM 

Sol 3658 ( May 9, 2014 ) false color panorama of rock outcrop on the rim of Endeavour:

and here is the sol 3659 180 degree pan view after about a 25 meter move (CD00 to CD99 ):


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Reply: 20

PostPosted: May 10, 2014 11:36 PM 

The 3D in reply 18 and the second panorama in reply 19 show an interesting scene. My take is that water once streamed down here from some hill that used to be there but has since been eroded away (possibly due to landslide).

Not sure how long ago the water streamed or the landslide occurred. Is there any way of telling?

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