MECA-OM Images - Page 11

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hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 201

PostPosted: August 24, 2008 4:48 PM 

Er, just noticed a typo in reply 199: group 2 count should be 0.

danajohnson Author Profile Page

Posts: 1195

Reply: 202

PostPosted: August 24, 2008 5:52 PM 

An additional Martian soil sample particle which has been shaken onto the array, without the addition of liquids from the Phoenix lander.
This image was enlarged at the same scale of 9x, or 900%, with the sample item of reply #200. The tones are mapped to 32, with just a slight increase in brightness, gamma, and a few points reduction in contrast. The lines were enhanced to show the smoothness of the alterations in the sample changes of angle and shape. The detailed surface shows a very unEarthly quality of following the patterns and alignments in the array mechanical device, and the grid pitted pattern.
If any materials were added to alter the qualities of the Mars sample material, we need to know about the addition now, not later.
A GIF, with other file types available at the photo hosting site for this image.
I'll rework this to eliminate the re-sized pixel 'jaggies' to better show the best semblance of smooth shapeliness modeling the sample has taken.


brian Author Profile Page

Posts: 708

Reply: 203

PostPosted: August 24, 2008 6:26 PM 

Hort, when I referred to risk I was referring to the fitness for purpose of the cell substrate, not any danger to the OM. 'We have an anomaly in the substrate of this cell. Can we use it and what is the risk that it will impact the sample collection and analysis'.

There has been no reference to the 'droplet' that I have seen. I base my assessment of the item on observation. You said 'Either this is the first interplanetary practical joke -- or it's a monumental Martian discovery. Since the Phoenix team has not highlighted this image, I am guessing that it is the former'. I gave a third, IMHO more likely option.

As I have noted before the things that interest me are the smoothness of the larger particles indicating transportation and the greenish hue to some which could be olivine or pyroxene. The dust also seems to have magnetic or paramagnetic properties which would explain some of the 'fluffyness'. Probably iron oxide(s) for instance maghemite. Not as exciting as microbes crawling across the field of view I guess.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 204

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 12:03 PM 

Sol 88 AFM scan? of OM24:

The problem with the "OM24 is too dangerous to use for sampling" theory is that is has been used repeatedly for suspected AFM scans since sol 82. The latest is the above.

Of course, I have to say "suspected" because the Phoenix team has not bothered to point out what these image sequences are.

But if you look closely there are a couple of tiny specks of Mars just under the AFM tips -- so it is a reasonable guess.

RE droplet vs. bubble...

OK, I'm convinced. Bubble.

My reasoning was that if it were a droplet then the feature would act as a lens and appear as a bright circle with bright edges in the UV. But if it were a void in the flourescing material then it would appear as a dark circle with bright edges.

Any other possibilities?

I wouldn't advise looking at the various particles scattered around and trying to figure out why they do or do not appear or disappear in the O and U images.


Posts: 638

Reply: 205

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 12:15 PM 


Ask yourself if the conditions on Mars could sustain a water droplet for this long. I have not entered the conversation because I have no idea of the MO process.

Looks to me like it would indeed be a gas bubble like in the greater substrate. Do not fret my friend, at least you think.


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

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Reply: 206

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 2:00 PM 

I only entertained the idea that it might be a droplet of some liquid ( perhaps water freed by the landing ) until the second OM showed that the feature showed absolutely no changes.

After that my leading candidate was a solidified droplet of some Earth contaminant and fancied that it was a "jest" by the sample wheel people. Alas, the solidified droplet of contaminant theory is not supported by the latest observation - but does support the bubble hypothesis.

One of the observations that convinced me that the bubble theory might be plausible was when I noticed multiple shadows of several large particles in the OM24 cell that changed location depending on the LED illumination direction. Until then I had assumed that the silicone was opaque, and hence a bubble in the media would be unobservable.

Once I understood that the silicone substrate ( or at least part of it ) was transparent, then the possibility of observing a bubble became real and that led me to looking at the UV image, since I had already observed that "you could even say it glowed", so the absense of glowing would be consistant with a void -- but not consistant with a clear lens-like material.

I hope some of you were amused by the process:

0. make observations;
1. propose an explanation;
2. collect more observations;
3. refute or confirm predictions;
4. goto step 1

Saaaay, I think I'm onto something!

LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 207

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 2:01 PM 

Hi Dana

Thanks for an excellent magnified image of one of the typical dust particles on the OM as well as your observation of the atypical way in which the particle surrounds its substrate.

Could you enlighten us as to what programs you use to do those excellent non-jagged, unpixellated super magnifications?


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 208

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 2:05 PM 

Ooops. Typo in reply 206: 4. goto step 0.

A typical programmer counting base error. The c programmer in me was knocked down and beaten senseless by the Basic programmer lurking in the shadows.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 209

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 2:58 PM 

After reviewing this sol 89 animation, I rechecked several similar AFM? animations, including this one and concluded that the contact point for the scans was in fact more towards the center of the images - based on the changes to the images.

Makes sense. Put the subject in the center of the image before and after the exercise.

Speaking of exercise, class, your 90 sols is now up( The first sol was numbered sol 0 ). Please put down your pencils and pass your work to the front. Grades will be posted in the Ptarth city square in a few decades.

danajohnson Author Profile Page

Posts: 1195

Reply: 210

PostPosted: August 25, 2008 3:13 PM 

Lewis, ref #207:
I am still using XNView for most everything I do. No excuses for not using the standard and $$ Photoshop CS3, in addition, but the methods used in XVNiew are actually better in a few areas than the 'big one'. I have PS Elements 5.0, and should run everything through that for the special processes like Unsharp Mask, but the time isn't here right now. I make most of my mistakes and typo's in the rush to finish and leave on my schedule daily. We really need to revive the photo processing thread subject which Horton and others were running. It was a life-saver for many of us, I am sure.

As to the imaging. Currently I have used about a twenty X dpi combined with an enlargement factor in the prime number range most of the time. We all receive these torturous poor quality downloads and try to rebuild some quality. I found some vignetting in the smaller and the original pixels, and all distorted pixel edges are enhanced to clear view. None-the-less, I can find many angles, details, and knowledge which is not clear in a tiny speck sized item against noisy colorful backgrounds. I am not usually trying to reduce the pixel or noise factor at all, but at times I am using the math algorithms of the 'effects' or several resizings to reduce interfering noises. These were posterized to 32 tones to show the smoothness of low contrast curved shapes around the metal and pitted underlying surfaces. The soil appears as gelatinous as others are commenting.
I use the Mitchell resizing upward in size, and the Bilinear when downsizing, usually. Each photo has a separate set of requirements.
Hoping to do better along the way. Wish we had the real imaging to ourselves. They have great depth of field, if they could find the items there, and the color is better than I expected.
To make this longer, I should change to an appropriate thread. We could do it email, if you like.
A newer particle on the host site in various file types. I had to move down to just 6X size on PNG and 100% quality JPEG's.

These look better reduced in size some. This particle has graininess, and a shape mostly to itself. Some modeling to the metal even here, however.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 211

PostPosted: August 26, 2008 7:05 PM 

sol 83-86-90 views of OM27:

Any ideas about what's going on here?


Posts: 708

Reply: 212

PostPosted: August 27, 2008 1:01 AM 

Superb images. Definitely a second scrape. I wonder if they may be trying to isolate a single (larger) particle for AFM imaging?

LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 213

PostPosted: August 27, 2008 10:24 PM 

Sol 91 OM showing numerous very small particles, one largish particle of the type usually found on all substrates and one particle about 60 uM wide whose type I have seen on only 2 other OM images.

Hope they are doing an AFM of this one, at least.

Image is RGB composite, colours really unknown and X2 magnification


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 214

PostPosted: August 28, 2008 1:53 PM 

Kinda' slow today, so I did some catching up. Here are OMs from sol 58.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 215

PostPosted: September 1, 2008 10:48 AM 

sol 95 UV / B animation:

So whats up with all the interest on the soil on the sample wheel? Some interesting, um, fluorscent stuff on the wheel - especially that short, longish rod. Another Earth hitchhiker? Who will ever know?

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 216

PostPosted: September 1, 2008 1:03 PM 

sol 95 visible / UV montage:

Er, what?

I have a question for the polymer guys:

Exactly how stable is silicone?

This image caused a major "aha" moment that caused me to review all the OM silicone images.

Here's the problem: most of the silicone sample cells have odd shapes in the substrate. Manufacturing defect? Design feature? I don't know -- but it's there.

Next, note that all the silicone substrates have strange fluorescences: some but not all of the substrate fluoresces. I had assumed that in fact the part of the substrate that glowed in the UV was the silicone portion.

But this image convinced me that in fact the opposite is happening: where the silicone is NOT is where the UV is happening. And particular, the strongest UV was at the silicone boundary!

Well, that puts an entirely different slant on all the UV / silicone observations ( and, coincidentally, on the "droplet" issue too, as it appears on a part of the substrate that I am guessing is not silicone. )

But first things first. Does anyone ( I'm looking at you Brian ) know what the silicone substrates looked like before they left Earth? Does anyone know if in fact the silicone was prepared as fluorcsent or not?

Maybe this is why the OMs stopped flowing after the sol 4 image of OM4, a silicone substrate.

Ah well, it's an interesting puzzle.

brian Author Profile Page

Posts: 708

Reply: 217

PostPosted: September 1, 2008 9:28 PM 

I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Of course they wouyld have done extensive registration and calibration images of the cells before the lander went on it's way tpo Mars. I beleive that the cell is completely covered with silicone. The shape is just different thicknesses or bonding voids. If the thickness varies then material would tend to collect at the boundary.

Since we have a heap of OM (including these from Sol 94 how can you say the flow ceased?

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 218

PostPosted: September 1, 2008 10:47 PM 

Amended statement for reply 216...

Maybe this is why the OMs stopped flowing after the sol 4 image of OM4, a silicone substrate - and posting of raw OMs was not resumed until sol 52.

brian, I don't understand why you don't understand what I am trying to say:

  • do the silicone substrates fluoresce?
  • were the silicone substrates uniformly coated when manufactured?
  • did the silicone substrates change before landing?

IF the silicone doesn't fluoresce, THEN some very interesting things are going on in the silicone cells.

I am guessing that the silicone does not fluoresce. Why complicate the UV detection issue by using a material that would swamp the signal you're looking for?

Of course, I have been puzzled by many decisions in this mission, so maybe this one is just one more difference between my visit to Barsoom and NASA's exploration of the fourth rock from the sun.

rpage Author Profile Page

Posts: 655

Reply: 219

PostPosted: September 2, 2008 8:47 PM 

Hey Horton,

I dunno if silicone flouresces under UV. I'm pretty sure that it does fluoresce under a black light. I recall seeing it before. If I remeber right it fluoresces a light blue or a light yellowish orange. It's easy enough to test, just allow some silicone glue to dry and use a black light on it.

LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 220

PostPosted: September 2, 2008 9:46 PM 

Hi Hort

In addition to the fluorescence It puzzled me from the start why they should use a silicon substrate which is replete with microscopic structures that look very organic and would certainly confuse the issue as to the origin of organic looking material dusted on the imaging wheel.

Here's my colouration of a sol 95 OM taken from an intersubstrate portion of the wheel and which has a good sample of a large "dust" particle. Note the smoothness, lack of any angles, apparent cohesiveness of the material, etc. Its an X2 magnification. Sure looks quite organic to me.


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