MECA-OM Images - Page 21

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Barsoomer Author Profile Page

Posts: 344

Reply: 401

PostPosted: September 30, 2008 1:14 PM 

To my mind, the calcium carbonate finding would seem to strongly support the idea of a former ocean in the Northern lowlands.

LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 402

PostPosted: September 30, 2008 11:43 PM 

Hi All

I think we should not allow the info from yesterday's press conference to distract us from a serious revisiting of hort's image at reply #397.

I think that image is important and that it deserves greater analysis and definitely a concentrated look by the Phoenix team by means of an exhaustive series of OM, as well as AFM images, if at all possible.

Those orangish blobs should be enticed to pose for a number of 3-D shots as well as a range of 2-D shots including a number of EDF shots, to get some indication as to whether or not the hints of fluidity, symmetry, leg like processes, etc. might be real.

They look very much like and are in the same size range as the oval object that was seen in the very first OM image of air dust collected by the lander on landing.


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

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Reply: 403

PostPosted: October 1, 2008 5:50 PM 

sol 125 OOF ( Out Of Focus )OM montage of OM33:

After calming down a bit, I started thinking about the OM OOF problem and noticed that the substrate of this image is one of the whirly-ride strong magnets ( here is the sol 121 version.) Then I noticed the streaks indicating that the soil had been scraped quite hard in the cell and then I thought about the sample wheel operation and - aha!

OK, maybe the OM design flaw is not in the binding of the substrates to the sample cells, but instead is in the mechanism for scraping off excess soil.

IF a large, hard particle gets wedged between the knife and the cell a great deal of unantipicated verticel force would be applied to the cell - perhaps enough to break the substrate loose. And once the substrate is loose then particles can get under the substrate - forcing it away from the sample -- causing the images to be OOF.

I wonder why the tests of the sample wheel mechanism never revealed this problem?

Other sol 121-125 comparisons are here.

Horace Heffner

Posts: 16

Reply: 404

PostPosted: October 4, 2008 7:34 AM 

Another Mars “bug” caught in motion in these NASA Phoenix Sol 123 photos:

These are animated in a video at:

It is similar to those in Horts' reply #387

This kind of multi-legged "bug" with spade tale (proboscis?) can also be seen at the bottom left of:


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 405

PostPosted: October 4, 2008 1:22 PM 

sol 128 OM33( strong magnet ) montage:

Looks like more soil was added - perhaps from under the rock "headless"?

A little better exposed - especially the 60 micron "doughnut" shapes on top the stuff in the center.

Rock guys - what minerals are toroidal in shape?

Here is the sol 128 view of OM29 ( weak magnet )

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 406

PostPosted: October 4, 2008 4:16 PM 

sol 128 OM30 ( silicone ) montage:

Lots of interesting 40-100 micron colorful, glassy beads.

If this is from under "headless" rock, what can it mean?

LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 407

PostPosted: October 4, 2008 9:36 PM 

Hi Hort

Beautiful images above. Below is another take on one of the sol 128 OM30 silcone substrate slides shown in the middle of your reply #406. The magnification is x2. I think the same as your original.

Some of the particles appear to be very similar to familiar friends from earlier sols and, in your image there appear to be a few translucent orangish whos with less obvious appendages than the ones in your earlier animation.

I wonder if they will ever try to guess what these particles are?


Horace Heffner

Posts: 16

Reply: 408

PostPosted: October 5, 2008 3:13 PM 

The following NASA information casts some doubt about the nature of the "bugs" on Mars.


The substrate for the Sol 123 photos in question is magnetic. The orange rocks are magnetic. The "bugs legs" may be magnetic dust attracted in filament form. I don't know what would explain the spade like "tails" that stick up occasionally though, or the existence of one in the Sol 112 photos at rotational position 6134 that I made my first movie from.


LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 409

PostPosted: October 5, 2008 5:31 PM 


Because it was evident from the first images on the strong and weak magnetic substrates that there appeared to be "movement" of some particles It was very predictable that the explanation would be magnetic effects and effects due to the movement of the substrate stage and its cover.

However, those facts do not explain the very small spheres that are embedded in the dust that is presumably derived from the larger small rocks (100 um or so in diameter).

They also do not fully explain the external small filaments and spheres that appear to be attached to some larger oval shaped particles that have a dark "skin" (for lack of a better word) and a lighter coloured interior. Although it is possible that magnetic attraction between the larger particles and the smaller filaments, etc might be the reason, I would really like to have access to better focused images of these particles to definitively say that they are likely to be sterile minerals.

The shape of many of the particles are somewhat ambiguous and the question on whether or not they are derived from bio or geo material is not likely to be solved until good AFM images of representative samples of all the various types of particles are made.

The gif anim procedure derives from only a very few frames which might be totally unrepresentative of any actual movement so one should not pay much credence to the anomalous movements in any gif sequence of the OM images at Phoenix.

However, the "tails" need further detailed OM EDF or AFM examination.

Also, because the particles are magnetic does not mean that they are automatically derived from geological minerals without any bio component.


LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 410

PostPosted: October 5, 2008 5:35 PM 


In my post above I forgot to mention the images that show a couple of particles that look like dehydrated water bears or tardigrades. We need to get better pictures of those.


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 411

PostPosted: October 6, 2008 6:49 PM 

sol 130 OM31:

from here? - which is from here???

Don't know.

The fine details on the far right are, er, fine.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

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Reply: 412

PostPosted: October 8, 2008 8:05 PM 

Sol 132 OM images

Barsoomer Author Profile Page

Posts: 344

Reply: 413

PostPosted: October 9, 2008 12:41 PM 

Is it possible that the OM movements could be settling due to temperature changes? Perhaps the temperature in the OM chamber is greater than the outside temperature, so a sample placed in the chamber might settle a little as it starts to warm up. Or perhaps minute inclusions of ice might vaporize and cause motion.


Posts: 5

Reply: 414

PostPosted: October 9, 2008 1:46 PM 

The humidity inside the sealed chamber must be high.

Horace Heffner

Posts: 16

Reply: 415

PostPosted: October 11, 2008 8:28 AM 

Here is a movie made from NASA Phoenix Sol 132 photos.

It is not very exciting. Hard to tell exactly what the motion is from. Nothing definitively bug-like visible. Again, the subject is located on a magnetic substrate (I think.) All photos were in green. Stage position 5411.

Sample photo located here:


LWS Author Profile Page

Posts: 3062

Reply: 416

PostPosted: October 13, 2008 7:24 PM 

Silicone substrate from today sol 137. Tardigrade like object still there and new greenish "blob". Might be effect of light on usual particles.


hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 417

PostPosted: October 13, 2008 9:41 PM 

sol 137 OM11 ( strong magnet) EDF montage:

with links to EDF 3D and focus animations.

Why doesn't the sticky soil immobilize the "jumping beans"?

sol 137 OM 8 montage:

and OM9 ( nanobucket ):

Barsoomer Author Profile Page

Posts: 344

Reply: 418

PostPosted: October 16, 2008 6:03 PM 

Unusually shaped particle at center of image. Looks like a tiny fireman's cap!

rpage Author Profile Page

Posts: 655

Reply: 419

PostPosted: October 16, 2008 8:34 PM 

Reply 417 top image Sol 137 OM11: Nice job on the color of those grains. There may be olivene and garnet grains in there...maybe translucent volcanic glass shards... Can't wait to see what the experts say about these!

Reply 417, center image, Sol 137 OM8 Montage: What the heck are those fibrous looking threads at 10:00 and 6:00? Are those known to be from Earth (pieces of the lander assemblage)??? This is not the first time we haveseen these but now there are 2 of them in one image.

Regarding Reply 418: The center of the image at 12:00 and 6:00 there are translucent mineral crystals or glass grains. Hard to tell what composition they might be without color.

hortonheardawho Author Profile Page

Posts: 3465

Reply: 420

PostPosted: October 16, 2008 9:26 PM 

sol 140 OM5 montage ( strong magnet ):

sol 140 OM1 montage (weak magnet):

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