Mars Exploration Rovers Update - February 13, 2004



Classic reductionism! Start with as much detail as possible in order to construct and understand the whole system later. This is the method of the dark ages.
In my chosen hobby, complexity science, just the opposite is the standard. Start with the largest scale first and look only at the global ....behavioral...patterns or characteristics. With this method one should deliberately avoid the component details to avoid introducing bias and error. Such as the bias of looking at a system from only a geologists point of view. A specialist is constrained to a myopic explanation. The details should ....always come last.
The global view of the Opportunity site was ....immediately... clear.
The uniform and random distribution of the spheres meant only two options are available to explain it. Either the spheres fell from the sky or are a product of a living system.
Since there is virtually no evidence at all of impact debris or a nearby recent volcano at the Opportunity site, the first solution is easy and quick.
The order is generated by life.
In complexity science this means the components are highly constrained to a very ...narrow.. subset needed to explain that global pattern...life.
The Opportunity site consists primarily of outcrops, soil and spheres. These components are now constrained to an ecosystem capable of producing life.
The only ...logical... explanation of the global order is that the outcrops are reefs producing the life that builds the soil. It becomes a simple exercise then to deduce what kind of life would live in such an environment and produce the spheres, since those patterns highly constrain that second solution.
These are two entirely different types of search algorithms. Bottom up brute force vs top down logic.
There's one detail you seem to forget. The most accurate and comprehensive scientific measuring device in the known universe is our....eyes.
So I guess we know what that shiny spot is in the following pic, and the cause of the gentle ripples in the distance. For Nasa to be generating computer wind models to explain such things seems almost funny if is wasn't so embarrassing.
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/032/1P131016823ESF0454P2583R1M1.HTML

Nasa is clearly biased against life, I am biased for. But the reason I am is because the ....universe... is biased for life.
That is the fundamental discovery of chaos and complexity science. That will be the fundamental discovery of this mission. Don't you see, with classical methods the analysis is just beginning. With non-linear methods this mission is pretty much wrapped up.
Jonathan
s

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PLONK

dunes
think they're

ripples
of the

made up

their
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/1/p/032/1P131016823ESF0454P2583R1M1.HTML
beginning
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jonathan wrote:

Yeah, and it works really, really well.

And that has not been shown to work well at all. So there you have it. Another nut.
--
Greg Crinklaw
Astronomical Software Developer
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What I find particularly offensive about attitudes like this is that I'm sure most any scientist at JPL would consider a conclusive, unassailable finding of life on Mars to be wonderful beyond their wildest dreams.
Real scientists have more drive, imagination, and hope than you could ever comprehend; because they endure all the tedium, grunt-work, and politics; _despite_ knowing full well that the probability of finding life is slim-to-none.
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wrote:

I don't doubt that at all.

The only problem with that bias against life is it's inaccurate. I've already stuck my neck out in an effort to demonstrate that complexity science is the better method. Time will tell. Those spheres are gemmules of a sponge. Just the type of sponge in this picture.
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plfeb96.htm#gemmules
If I'm correct we can then revisit which method shows the greater imagination and comprehension of the natural world.
I've done the math and have complete confidence time is on my side.
Jonathan
s
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wrote:

their
Better than what? Better than actually going there and looking for it? Whatta dweeb.

You are neither qualified, nor intelligent enough to make that determination.
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You have not demonstrated a NASA or anyone else has shown a bias against discovering life.

1. Show us your numbers.
2. Show us a complexity scientist who agrees with your assessment that you can know with "mathematical certainty" that there is fossilized life in Meridiani crater on Mars without any confirmational data whatsoever. And that you were the first person to speculate that the spherules might be the remains of fossilized life. To be credible, you must back up your "complete confidence" - or, to put it more accurately, your faith in things unseen.
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Maybe they are baby crawfish, it is crawfish season, you know.
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tiny
the
Notice what planet he's from!
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would
Indirectly. According to "Mars" in the chapter on "Aeolian Processes, Sediments and Features," section "Particles and their entrainment by the wind":
"Particles moved by the wind on Mars range fro less that a micron, for suspended dust, to perhaps as large as a centimeter in diameter. The principal mode of transport and size ranges are shown in Fig. 3
http://www.copperas.com/astro/saltation.jpg . On Mars the particle size most easily moved is 100 microns in diameter, or fine sand. This material is set into saltation in trajectories averaging about 1 m long and 10 to 20 cm high (White 1979). Saltating sand grains may strike larger grains (< 1 cm) and push the along the surface in creep."
Interestingly, on the other end of the scale extremely small particles are also difficult for the wind to lift. Quote:
"Pollack... estimated that the size of the dust in the atmosphere is on the order of 1 micron. This particle size is extremely difficult to set into motion by wind shear alone (Fig. 2)
http://www.copperas.com/astro/particles.jpg , but on Earth, is commonly set into motion by saltating sand."
Note that in Fig 2. above the axis labeled U is the laminar velocity right at the surface which is much lower than the free stream velocity above.
Quoting again:
"The laminar sublayer is estimated to be < 9 mm on Mars for very smooth, homogeneous surfaces composed entirely of fine grains (White 1981). Thus, very fine particles, such as dust, would be completely immersed in the laminar sublayer and would be extremely difficult to entrain by the wind unless disturbed, as by saltation impact of larger, more easily moved grains."
"If R > 70, the surface roughness (pebbles, rocks, etc.) become larger than the thickness of the laminar sublayer, the laminar sublayer ceases to exist and the surface is said to be aerodynamically rough."
"Figure 2 shows the threshold friction velocity required to move different size particles with a density of 2.73 g/cm; curves are shown for a range of atmospheric surface pressure and temperatures appropriate to Mars. The increase in friction velocity to entrain particles smaller than about 100 microns is due to aerodynamic effects (e.g., immersion in the laminar sublayer) and interparticle forces. Interparticle forces ay be due to moisture, electrostatic forces and other forces of cohesion..."
"However, once threshold is attained, very low winds can keep dust aloft. Because threshold scales inversely with atmospheric density, the winds required to mobilize dust on Mars are exceedingly high; for example, winds required to move 10-micron grains exceed the speed of sound."
The sand grains which can be seen in the outcrop MI photos in nooks and crannies of the outcrop look to be about the 100 micron optimum size (3 pixels at MI resolution).
http://www.copperas.com/astro/grains.jpg The dust on the surface would be the fine-grained material thus eroded?
Since rough pebbly surfaces tend to inhibit wind transport of particles, could the spherules be protecting their position on top of the soil? Also, some of the microscopic imager photos might show that the surface grains are attracted strongly to each other.
Joe
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Joe
So should we be discussing the sandblasting effect on rounding pebble sized bits of rock broken out of it's original matrix by thermal expansion and contractions? Is there just not enough wind pressure to move marble sized bits of rock around enough to make them spherical?
Graham
I imagine that if the spherules (spheres) protected their position they would become perched on sand grains and then fall off of the sand pillars.

are
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Maybe so, through aforesaid saltation/creep effect.

The idea would be that the spherical pebbles prevent erosion to some extent in the first place by stagnating the air close to the ground, and that such sand that is blown around might collide with them & cause them dogies to creep slowly across the plain?
Rover wake-up theme o' the day:
Keep movin', movin', movin', Though they're disapprovin', Keep them spherules movin', Rawhide. Don't try to understand 'em, Just RAT 'em, 'scope and brand 'em. Soon we'll be livin' high and wide. My heart's calculatin', Gray hematite will be waitin', Be waitin' at the end of my ride. Head 'em out, ride 'em in, Ride 'em in, let 'em out, Cut 'em out, ride 'em in, Rawhide! Keep rollin', rollin', rollin', Though the dunes are swollen, Keep them spherules rollin', Rawhide. Through sand and wind and weather, Hell bent for leather, Wishin' MGS was by my side. All the things I'm missin', Direct from Earth transmissions, Are waiting at the end of my ride.
(apologies)
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wrote

expansion
pillars.
extent
such
You have much too much time on your hands, dude! Hehehe.
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Joe Knapp wrote:

None needed. Bravo!
Jo Schaper
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The dust devils might move them slightly - over long periods of time they might migrate - but not necessarily easily or quickly.
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Hibernating Martian life between droughts.
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Sons and daughters of "the blob"? Oh, nevermind.
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Petrified gulls' eggs?
On that score the naturalist and explorer Samuel Clemens had some interesting observations about life in a briny lake near the town of Mono, California, in his book "Roughing It":
Mono Lake lies in a lifeless, treeless, hideous desert, eight thousand feet above the level of the sea, and is guarded by mountains two thousand feet higher, whose summits are always clothed in clouds. This solemn, silent, sail-less sea--this lonely tenant of the loneliest spot on earth--is little graced with the picturesque. It is an unpretending expanse of grayish water, about a hundred miles in circumference, with two islands in its centre, mere upheavals of rent and scorched and blistered lava, snowed over with gray banks and drifts of pumice-stone and ashes, the winding sheet of the dead volcano, whose vast crater the lake has seized upon and occupied.
...
The lake is two hundred feet deep, and its sluggish waters are so strong with alkali that if you only dip the most hopelessly soiled garment into them once or twice, and wring it out, it will be found as clean as if it had been through the ablest of washerwomen's hands.
...
There are no fish in Mono Lake--no frogs, no snakes, no polliwigs--nothing, in fact, that goes to make life desirable. Millions of wild ducks and sea-gulls swim about the surface, but no living thing exists under the surface, except a white feathery sort of worm, one half an inch long, which looks like a bit of white thread frayed out at the sides. If you dip up a gallon of water, you will get about fifteen thousand of these. They give to the water a sort of grayish-white appearance. Then there is a fly, which looks something like our house fly. These settle on the beach to eat the worms that wash ashore--and any time, you can see there a belt of flies an inch deep and six feet wide, and this belt extends clear around the lake--a belt of flies one hundred miles long.
If you throw a stone among them, they swarm up so thick that they look dense, like a cloud. You can hold them under water as long as you please--they do not mind it--they are only proud of it. When you let them go, they pop up to the surface as dry as a patent office report, and walk off as unconcernedly as if they had been educated especially with a view to affording instructive entertainment to man in that particular way.
...
Mono Lake is a hundred miles in a straight line from the ocean--and between it and the ocean are one or two ranges of mountains--yet thousands of sea-gulls go there every season to lay their eggs and rear their young. One would as soon expect to find sea-gulls in Kansas.
...
Half a dozen little mountain brooks flow into Mono Lake, but not a stream of any kind flows out of it. It neither rises nor falls, apparently, and what it does with its surplus water is a dark and bloody mystery.
...
In speaking of the peculiarities of Mono Lake, I ought to have mentioned that at intervals all around its shores stand picturesque turret-looking masses and clusters of a whitish, coarse-grained rock that resembles inferior mortar dried hard; and if one breaks off fragments of this rock he will find perfectly shaped and thoroughly petrified gulls' eggs deeply imbedded in the mass. How did they get there? I simply state the fact--for it is a fact--and leave the geological reader to crack the nut at his leisure and solve the problem after his own fashion.
Project Gutenberg e-text: http://tinyurl.com/yru9p
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snip

it
their
very
If you get around to it, I would like a look at this rhyolite.
I gather that all of you have thought of bluish hydrated Cu-sulfates as a possible origin - I think that's the ingredient used in basic chemistry lab-experiments to show growth of crystals. With some ceramic experience I can add that a few % CuO in a felspatic mixture and burned in a reducing CO2-atmosphere 'often' produces a glace with a strong bluish/turquoise color. And something hit me, Geoge, when you ascribed a possible origin of the round glassy-looking spheres as melted feldspar. Having said that, I'm still open to a 'wet' origin and a diverse composition. As a stray - I suppose that a 10 cm layer of gypsum decomposing to anhydrite on a slope could do for weak layer to cause a landslide. Or another 'diagenetic' process.... or even half a meter of hard rounded spheres ;o)
Carsten
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it
their
Agreed, since so much more information is brought out in the color composites, even if false color, or maybe especially if false color. That montage is made I believe by just a straight composite of the raw images (L2, L5, L7), which means it will greatly overemphasize the blues, but I would pay for that over the red monotone "true color" versions that don't show these intriguing variations.
In the pancam paper available online (http://europa.la.asu.edu:8585/PGG/greeley/courses/pdf/bell_2003.pdf ) there's a chart on page 93 showing the expected exposure time vs. filter used. For the filters used above, the predicted exposure times are L2 (infrared) 0.4 second, L5 (green) 2 seconds and L7 (blue) 10 seconds. So that gives an idea of how much green and blue are overemphasized just by glomming them together.

that
I think they are using something called Maestro, which is available for download at http://mars.telascience.org /
They use that for analysis anyway. However, they only release a limited dataset of images for use with that program.

color
the
web
Well, the guy who did the image above has been working overtime on some great shots, including some great anaglyphs.
Outcrop B&W stitch: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&idp Outcrop color stitch: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&idT Hazcam movie of Spirit driving: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&idP Anaglyph of Spirit "track rocks": http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id Anaglyph closeup of above: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id 0 Spirit sol 39 B&W pan: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id Amazing anaglyph of above: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id Spirit sol 27 color pan: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id Anaglyph of above: http://mer.rlproject.com/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id

the
Only random ones. Good point about the purple being interesting. Offhand, it looks like the purple is always associated with clearly layered portions of the outcrop, as in this closeup:
http://www.copperas.com/astro/purple.jpg
However, the purple is relatively rare. Here's an idea: the direct sunlight is bluish as opposed to the scattered light which is red. The outcrop is reddish. Maybe there are crystalline grains in the outcrop layers that catch the sunlight at certain angles and reflect blue light towards the camera, producing purple (blue+red). Looking at the sun angle in that photo, it seems consistent.
Another interesting "anomaly" is the big chunk of blue stuff that looks like it might be made of the spherule stuff:
http://www.copperas.com/astro/bluechunk.jpg
RAT/Moss/APX/scope that mother!
Joe
How
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