Mount Sharp - Extended Mission 1 - Page 50

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Posts: xxx

Reply: 981

PostPosted: August 16, 2015 8:43 PM 

Kye and anyone else who feels to comment;

Look at the sol 1075 image below of part of the Curi instrument deck covered with relatively thick dust (i.e. the non moving parts)


Cast your minds back to the images of the Veins and of what I call "debris flows". They are in the main not covered with the almost ubiquitous tan dust.

Any ideas why these objects appear to repel the settling of dust? My hypothesis is that they are currently dynamic, growing or being resorbed.

What's yours?


Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 982

PostPosted: August 18, 2015 6:15 PM 

Barsoomer, re your 966, my 965, Sorry about my slow response. I'm reproducing your post here to aid anyone following this:

"I'm not sure whether saltating sand can travel uphill, but in any case I don't see any great mystery. The quantity of sand involved in the flows seems to be a tiny fraction of what is there, so the existing inventory would take a long time to deplete. The wind might not blow sand uphill but it could erode the higher rocks, creating new sand. Thermal cycling could also contribute to the erosion."

To your first sentence, yes sand can saltate uphill, on Earth at least. Saltation of sand up the gentler windward slope is a regular part of dune formation . On the downwind side of the dune sand falls out of saltation and builds up to form a steeper slope. Dunes can even move upslope as long as sufficient winds blow, but they still have the same structure, gentler slopes to windward and steeper slopes in the lee.

Maybe this will help to clarify what I'm getting at in my 965. I said that we haven't seen active slip faces on ripples or dunes, but I think I need to correct that. I've lately gone through most of my collection of hundreds of avalanche images from Gale and realized that a substantial minority of sand slides occur on what could be interpreted as sand-tails, or sand-shadows. Here's a couple of examples: both lower right in the image, each is a small slide tight against the rock that "protects" the tail:

For this sub-category of slides there's a possible conventional aeolian interpretation that is much like that for reversing dunes, star dunes or shadow dunes on Earth These can all have slip faces but don't actually move much across the landscape. Instead their crests shift back and forth with changes in the wind direction and slip faces form on both sides over time. In these types of dune the sand is being loaded onto the currently active slip faces by being blown over the crest from the other side of the dune in basically the same way as with moving transverse and barchan dunes. So our Mars sand-tail avalanches could be explained in the same way: a slide down one side of the tail can be explained by sand loading from the other side of the crest, that is, from ABOVE the unstable slope.

If all the slides at Gale occurred on sand-tails then maybe we would be justified in calling them shadow dunes. Also commonly though, we see avalanching on slopes where wind loading from above seems unlikely to impossible, like tucked up under rock overhangs. Can the wind be loading sand slopes to the point of collapse from the bottom up, by sweeping sand up the same slopes that are sliding down? Maybe this can happen on Mars, but I'm pretty sure it would be damned irregular on Earth. I can't find any reference to it. Can the stable angle of repose be exceeded by sand grains bouncing uphill and coming to rest, instead of falling out the airstream from above? Does the angle of repose concept even make sense on Mars where sand slides typically burst through a surface crust? These slides might not be as extraordinary as I suspect, but they sure differ substantively from sand slides on Earth in a number of ways.

To your second point: How big is the reservoir of sand ready-to-slide? In some cases a single slide might deplete all the unstable sand by reducing the steepness of slope from just above the stable angle of repose down to a stable angle. On Earth dunes the slip-faces never get much steeper than the stable angle of repose. If the wind stops delivering more sand, avalanching soon ends. At Gale we see a lot of current slide activity, so the unstable slopes should be getting more stable quickly, but where's the wind-blown sand activity to match, to keep them unstable?

To your third point, I think that in the mainstream view the creation of sand from rock by erosion, through either agency, wind blown sand or thermal cycling, should be a far far slower process than wind induced movement of ripples or dunes. If there's something in this landscape creating sand or causing erosion faster than those two processes, then I think it might be the slide and trench process itself, whatever it is. Its the most active process we've seen at Gale so far, so its reasonable that it could be causing the greatest change over geologic time.


Posts: 344

Reply: 983

PostPosted: August 23, 2015 9:54 PM 



"The ground about 1 meter [3.3 feet] beneath the rover in this area holds three or four times as much water as the ground anywhere else Curiosity has driven during its three years on Mars,"

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 984

PostPosted: August 24, 2015 1:19 PM 

LWS re your 976 and 977 based on this image:

That patch of differently textured surface, center-right, sure gives the impression of having formed over the pre-existing eroded surface. That would then mean that something really interesting has happened in the relatively recent past. Appearances can be deceiving though - maybe that patch of rock that was modified somehow while still deep underground and has just eroded differently. Interesting, but I'd have to see multiple examples.

Re your 981, I think that we are now seeing dust of a different color, which is interesting because the tan dust we've been seeing until recently is thought to be globally mixed, the same everywhere on Mars. Here's a couple of closeup mastcam images of sand slopes that resolve the multi-colored sand grains in places but in other areas the grains seems to be obscured by finer, more uniform, and overall slightly DARKER material than the sand.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 985

PostPosted: September 1, 2015 8:32 PM 

I suspect this is a groundbreaking image of the veins and their environment.

Curi sol 1090; 3D of an area where a "purposeful" vein, formed after laminae had been eroded at the edge of a fracture fill, draped itself over the laminae and extended itself along the laminar edges and further afield.

These veins might not be entirely what they seem.


Paul Scott Anderson

Posts: 53

Reply: 986

PostPosted: September 2, 2015 1:26 AM 

Martian "spoons." Closeups of first one and second nearby in same original image from sol 1089. So delicate looking!


Posts: 344

Reply: 987

PostPosted: September 2, 2015 11:42 PM 

Nice ones, Winston and Paul. Mars is weird!


Posts: xxx

Reply: 988

PostPosted: September 4, 2015 6:42 PM 

Here's another one with some nice objects and textures. There might be some biology there as well (ancient or modern)

from sol 1092, 3D xeyed.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 989

PostPosted: September 4, 2015 8:19 PM 

Winston, just wanted to encourage your continuing search for strange and peculiar Curiosity objects and your excellent presentations.

I almost created an enhanced 3D for this area myself, but I figured you would too.

I know how lonely this work can be and would like to encourage you to continue working on Curiosity while I concentrate on Opportunity.

A full filter sequence was taken of this sol 1092 area - but as of sol 1094 it is already 30+ meters in the rear view mirror. ( Nothing new there...)

If nothing is posted by Oppy over the long weekend I will stack the images to see if a few more details of this particular weirdness can bes teased out.



Posts: xxx

Reply: 990

PostPosted: September 5, 2015 5:00 PM 


You don't know how thankful I am for your post at 8:19 pm. It is lonely. Please do the full filter sequence.

I'm convinced that Curiosity has already posted enough information to prove to thinking persons that it is almost certain that there was life on Mars. The trick is now to show where that life has persisted to the present.

Geomicrobiologists like Nora Noffke and Dawn Sumner are working on it and lots of good papers are out there being rubbished by establishment scientists.

It will only take some reputable scientists to do some thorough reviews and trumpet the results to the world.

I'll continue doing my little bit.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 991

PostPosted: September 6, 2015 11:54 AM 

Sol 1092 3D detail of peculiar shaped rocks in the Williams area in Gale crater:

with location links.

This image was created from 14 Mastcam images.

Be sure to follow the location links...

Firstly, assuming that the dark "tuning fork" rock is different ( more dense? ) than the lighter matrix rock ( less dense? ) then how did the "tuning fork" shape occur? HOW? ( If you say "wind erosion" then you don't understand the problem. )

There are multiple peculiar shapes at this site, including a "spoon" ( there is no spoon ) and a "cabbage". ( there is no cabbage )....

Note in the last location image the peculiar shapes are atop a brilliant "white" layer - which is most likely created by a LOT of water.

SO, class, where is the most likely place to find fossils?

Anyone? Anyone?

Yes Winston, there is a LOT of circumstantial evidence of AT LEAST ancient life organized in colonies in watery environments. But no direct scientific evidence.

I am sure there are a lot of the science guys on the mission that "believe" there is/was life on Mars - just like most astronomers believed there were extra solar planets before there was scientific proof of their existence.

I would guess that we are a decade away from scientific proof that there was / is life on Mars. ( Sure hope that I live to see it... )

I am losing hope of seeing more "advanced" fossils on Mars. No obvious "body plans" - just colonies of single cells. Mars just didn't have the time to get any further.

This has depressing implications for advanced life everywhere in the universe. We may in fact be "alone".

Doesn't look like Oppy will be doing much during the long weekend so I will poke around the 49/1876 site looking for other weirdness...


Posts: xxx

Reply: 992

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 10:17 AM 

Thanks Hort;

Here's some more weirdness in an recently released sol 1059 image. I had posted the original mastcam images a couple of weeks ago and then saw this morning that some Chem cam images had been now posted by the Curi site.

That surface sure resembles microbialites.



Posts: xxx

Reply: 993

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 10:28 AM 


My last post disappeared into the aether.

You said above "This has depressing implications for advanced life everywhere in the universe. We may in fact be "alone". That may well be so and we would then have to ask about the unique purpose of mankind and the diverse abundance of other life forms in this singular corner of the vast universe.

I would like to think that it is not so and that we are merely at the beginning of a long journey to find our origins. Exploring Mars in all its minutiae then becomes a really important task. Is mankind up to it? I also think so but I also think that modern science which seeks to constrain and squelch "new" ideas is not helping to really seed that search and the unfolding of the universe.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 994

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 11:43 AM

From the above top secret forum. Is there something growing on Curiosity?


Posts: 692

Reply: 995

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 2:24 PM 

Horton, you said:
"I am losing hope of seeing more "advanced" fossils on Mars. No obvious "body plans" - just colonies of single cells."

That's a good observation. If there are repeating patterns, there should be a clue to more complex fossil like structure. Those equal shapes should appear on many different locations, easy to find. Instead we may see groups of ancient cell clumped together to make some weird shapes that can't be explained in pure geological way.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 996

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 5:29 PM 

Marsatic; THose blobs were there since early last year. I don't think they've changed in any material way. I don't think they've eber been explained.



Posts: 3465

Reply: 997

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 5:42 PM 

One image shows a one inch (2.5 cm) square metal plate mounted on the back of the rover which ChemCam uses for calibration. A laser pit can easily be seen in the center.


Posts: 3465

Reply: 998

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 6:15 PM 

Sol 1087 3D detail of peculiar rod and doughnut shaped rocks in the Williams area in Gale crater:

This is why I don't look closely at the Curiosity pictures any more.

The rover sat near this position for a week ( sol 1087 - 1093 ) and not once glanced down and looked at this with any scientific instruments.

It is one of the clearest Martian doughnuts seen to date..

I spent most of today creating Mastcam 3Ds in the Williams area, found LOTs of weirdness and finally decided I was wasting my time.

We'll just have to wait until the Europeans and the Chinese get to Mars before the obvious will be seen.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 999

PostPosted: September 7, 2015 10:56 PM 


Welcome to the club.

I've been downloading a lot of Curi images and noting a large amount of weirdness, much of which could be explained by putative microbes in Gale crater being somewhat deterministic in guiding the veins through the dark stuff that is always found around blue rocks and having formative relationships with other microbes in dark festoons that end up in village type structures with alternating layers of mud stone and veins and with regularly spaced, often circular, peepholes.

No. I'm not going mad, I'm just trying to describe micro scenes that suggest that some sort of life is going on (life, that the Nora Noffke's and others may be able to characterize in the antarctic and show that some microbes may actually determine the directions that veins run and that such directions are not predicated on only water content in pore spaces, water gradients, wind movements, etc., but on the metabolic drivers of certain microbes who might be riding in the now ubiquitous gypsum and calcite veins for protection and access to dim light and perhaps even transport from one niche to another.

Another set of weirdness I've been following is the "carved" small "statuettes" and water "conduits" and "bones" that abound in certain areas and not in others and the forms of some other artifacts that suggest that not only wind and water have shaped them but some living micro entity, perhaps very long ago but possibly just days ago.

The problem I think is that most people have been looking for human bones or fishes or some totally recognizable earthling organism. But the reality appears to be that if life actually was or is there near the surface it is likely to be much different in form to us.

The real McCoy of Martian life, if he actually exists, is only likely to be miles underground or at least in some so far unexplored (by man) deep chasm.

This is just one more ploy to see if I can stir up some debate by the oldsters on this question, nothing more!


Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 1000

PostPosted: September 10, 2015 8:25 PM 

This MARDI or mrdi image of sol 1098 shows something I am plagued by over the years about Mars. In a cleaned and adjusted view of this there is a very obvious cementation/consolidation mineral pattern which is nearly identical to local Garber sandstone on Earth in the Valley Brook/ Oklahoma City area. As the materials are varied somewhat, with claimed different histories and circumstances, to find the pattern in the old spheroids, these layered accumulation, and the sedimentary Garber barium , calcium, rich silica sandstones of Earth is un-nerving to myself. I suppose sedimentologists chuckle at the similarities of assembled and cemented mixtures being almost identical, but I'll never be satisfied by a lack of available online discussions and images of sediment textures and patterned mineral slabs and closeups.

All the layers and even the loose sediment has a surface textural sameness, the fine structure is not differing between both loose material and worn sections exposed but appearing solid. Not visible on end at broken layers where porosity is apparent, the pattern is seen in spheroids of Eagle crater, and other layered materials over the years on Mars.

These 'spoon' shapes are also not uncommon in the heavyweight dense barium sulphate cores of mineralized lenses in the same Garber sandstone. Those I see here are usually far more globular but some are distinctly rope-like to 'bone-burrow' shaped. In a few cases I have dug the shapes from the toes of material movement fronts- slide toes, and even animal probable burrow tubules. They are very tough and resistant, and being barium based they are very, very heavy. The material around them is actually rather less tough and not heavy or dense. The liquids flowing in them was very concentrated either quickly or over a period of time. Curious the way minerals can form lenses, and the multiple causation even more curious. Local research generally leaves the story an open book even after tens of years of study on Earth.
If this area was as wet as the Garber sandstone over the millennia, and if the textures and lenses were formed similarly in a near aquatic morass over vast time, would the porosities still carry evidence of the original content of early Gale crater?

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