Curious about Curiosity - Page 18

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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 12:01 AM 

Interestingly, a typical partial pressure of water in the atmosphere of, say, California might be about 12 millibars. That means that the absolute amount of moisture in a column of atmosphere above Gale would be about 5% of the amount in a similar column in California. That is more than I would have expected.

Kye Goodwin

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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 12:33 PM 

LWS, re your 318, The item you posted explains a little about Curiosity's neutron-sounding for water:

It includes this: "The most likely hydrogen in the ground of Gale Crater is in hydrated minerals. These are minerals with water molecules or hydroxyl ions bound into the crystalline structure of the mineral. They can tenaciously retain water FROM A WETTER PAST after all free water has gone." {Emphasis mine} I've got a feeling that the "wetter past" referred to there is not THE NIGHT BEFORE, but that's what this paper about the Phoenix site is suggesting:

Water on Mars doesn't always have to be about the past. The Phoenix scientists seemed to have escaped from this way of thinking, but I suspect that Curiosity is once again firmly in the control of the "Ancient Warm-Wet Mars" believers.


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 1:29 PM 

Hi Kye

I also noted the "from a wetter past" but thought that it was an attempt to guide susequent discussion and analysis back in the direction of ancient water with absolutely no data to corrorobate such.


Robert Clark

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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 3:23 PM 

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Posted: August 23, 2012 3:15 PM
Sol 15 Weather Report for Gale Crater, Mars.
Note the absolute humidity of 7%.
MPJ, I was thinking of a hydrated perchlorate (which is, I think, hygroscopic).

Barsoomer, I think I heard one of the scientists say during the news conference that that graphic was only supposed to be representative of what they were expecting before the landing. It was not actual readings of for example water vapor content.
It should have had a clear disclaimer though.

Bob Clark


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 3:36 PM 

Hi Bob,

That was true when it was said (at the press conference), but I believe the website has real data now, for both Sol 15 and Sol 16. (Maybe by now Sol 17 also.) Note the wind speed is now different from the one shown in the press conference graphic. Also the Sol 16 humidity was different from Sol 15.

By the way, regarding Kye's link concerning the DAN instrument, anyone notice the "break" in the curve of the neutron returns, versus the lab curve? I think that might indicate a layer that is hydrogen-free between two hydrogen-bearing layers. Perhaps the top layer is in contact with the atmosphere whereas the bottom layer may be the "ancient" water beneath an impervious layer. (But this is just speculation.)


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 4:02 PM 

Robert Clark;

I may be wrong, but I think that Barsoomer was pointing out that the figure of 7% for absolute humidity in the gale crater site was actually a very high figure, given what we presumably know about the amount of water in Mar's atmosphere. It might therefore have represented a freudian slip by the Mars station developers.

However, the figure given for average absolute humidity in the Curiosity Mars weather site which gives a daily breakdown of the weather and was cited above by Barsoomer for sol 16, is 8%. This should be a real figure and not just a made up test datum. Thus the made-up data was not far out from the real data.

Indeed, it looks like if MSL is serious about looking for current water (and past or present habitability) in the Gale crater it needs to look no further than its current surroundings near the landing site and leave out the climbing of Mt. Sharp until later when some preliminary answers to those questions are at hand.

Also Google absolute vs. relative humidity.



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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 4:05 PM 

Ok, maybe it's not real yet. I did see the site change from Sol 15 to Sol 16, but we should be up to Sol 18 by now, and I can't find any link to an archive in the REMS home page, or even any link to the marsweather.html page. Not sure what is going on; I thought NASA intended this to be a daily weather report.


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 4:24 PM 

So this hazy view is really fog clouds over the landscape. Then it should be common to see early morning frost who appearing on the ground in the low lying Gale crater. This is fantastic.

PS sorry my friends, I hope my Norwegian-English is somewhat readable...


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 4:58 PM 

sol 0017 Mastcam-100 view of Mount Sharp:

with location links.

I don't know exactly what CCD readout mode / filter combination is being used in these tests - but it has a dramatic effect in the visual acuity.

I am still playing around with the "raw" images in imagej and look forward to the official versions of these images.


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 5:36 PM 

This is good even it is a "raw" of 350 kB each.

A composite of the 3 to four present?

John Henry Dough

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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 6:34 PM 

off topic ,,,,but is the nickname to be ''Curie""?

Sounds good to me,,,,i think someone here already mentioned it.


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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 8:28 PM 

Uh, Oh. The humidity sensor is on the boom that was damaged. I wonder if the weather reports were started and then stopped, if there was some question about the accuracy?

Robert Clark

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PostPosted: August 24, 2012 10:38 PM 

LWS, absolute humidity means the total amount of water vapor in the air out of all the constituents in the air. Then 8% absolute humidity would be extraordinary even on Earth. It would mean nearly half that of the oxygen content on Earth.
The reading would make sense for relative humidity for that means relative to the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold at that temperature.

Bob Clark


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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 12:59 AM 

Er, the sol 17 Mount Sharp Mastcam images appear to be the "raw" readout of the CCD:

Here is the 4 sets of Bayer filter images and here is the resulting color and B&W pictures.

See the Flickr notes for details of the processing.

Er, about those green hills...


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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 3:50 AM 

Ok, now I understand. And I think the quality of those images are fairly good despite the JPG conversion from the original RAW. So then I will stop to moan regarding bad image quality from MSL.

And those green hills, aren't they facing south towards the Sun? ....


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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 6:08 AM 

Robert Clark;

I knew that.

I think that the NASA/JPL people also certainly knows that, so they couldn't make a mistake reporting relative humidity over a few days and built in their reporting format as absolute humidity.

But the report did say average absolute Humidity 8%. That's why, before I saw Barsoomer's response to you, I intimated that he was pointing out that the reported absolute humidity was extraordinary.

Most likely Barsoomer is right that the boom is damaged and somehow the absolute humidity readings have been affected ( even though the other readings seem to be OK).

But suppose by some wild stretch of a new martian improbability, the humidity readings represent martian reality. What then?

Is there any possibility at all that the absolute humidity could be about right at the time of day that the readings were taken (but they were average data); deep down in gale crater; where foggy conditions were apparently observed?



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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 7:48 AM 

sol 0017 Bayer-RGB processed sequence ( unbalanced ) of curious areas on Mount Sharp:

and a "fair and balanced" view:

and a few closeup Bayer-RGB processed views:


The imagej macro Bayer-RGB used to create these images is in reply 232 of the topic imagej MER basics.

I think that NASA was so surprised by the green that they suspected a CCD or software problem and tried to make it "go away" by processing the RAW RAW data here on Earth.

It didn't work.

Notice that the green areas appear in the same place on the mountain in four different pointings. Also note that there is no shocking green areas close up anywhere in the closeups. ( But there are a few close "greenish" spots in the enhanced difference false color views. )

The least NASA could have done for us amateurs is post the RAW data in a lossless format - such as PNG - or best yet as a 16 bit TIF file. But then that would violate the mushroom policy adopted by the MSL administration - heck maybe even national Security Policy - or maybe even a commandment chiseled on the back of the ten commandments tablet...

( Man, am I having fun - or what? )


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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 8:21 AM 

sol 0017 Bayer RGB with enhanced difference false color processing:



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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 8:56 AM 

a couple more:

Perhaps there is some weirdness going on in the conversion to JPG? It is the only "out".


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PostPosted: August 25, 2012 9:05 AM 


Way to go!
Curi strikes again


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