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A Martian Oddity Photographed by Curiosity on Sol 1185

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posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 11:43 AM
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While watching a Youtube video compilation of Mars images acquired by MSL/Curiosity, a rather unusual feature caught my attention. On day 1185 of its mission, the rover captured an image of a pretty distinct looking elliptical feature that sticks out like a sore thumb among the usual rocks we normally see in images from Mars. Here's a snapshot of the feature in question:


NASA/JPL source image

As there are two images available, left and right, we can also create a 3D stereo view. To see the 3D effect below, please focus on the black bar in the center then slowly cross your eyes/move eyes inward until you see a third image appear in the center (this will be the composite 3D image that your brain automatically creates from the two single images).

3D Cross Eye View
(see instructions above for how to view correctly):


The scale of the feature must be in the centimeter range (maximum) since the image had been acquired by Curiosity's MastCam which was pointed at the surface terrain close to the rover (I would estimate the distance between MastCam and the imaged area to be 3-4 meters).

The way it looks, it made me think it might be debris from the Sky Crane that delivered MSL to the surface and then crashed some distance away from the landing site. But then again, it probably wouldn't appear as dust-covered as the other rocks around it, but who knows. Of course it could also be some rare form of natural erosion or the result of geochemical processes.

But if it's none of the above, then we're talking "fossils". In that case, there's not much we can compare it to based on what we know from Earth. One organism that did leave behind similarly shaped traces in our Earthly fossil record is called Eldonia, an ordovician soft-bodied cambroernid animal that existed about 450 million years ago.

Examples of terrestrial Eldonia fossils:




And here's a collection of Ordovician bryozoan fossils, the one to the right looks like it could be a good fit:


For some it may be a stretch to think this could actually be a fossil, especially since a frequent argument says that fossils are usually embedded in entire ecosystems, so there should be a lot more of them in that same area. Does anyone know if this feature had already been positively identified anywhere? Would be great to find out what others on here think of this...




SOURCES & LINKS:
---------------------------------------------
01. NASA/JPL source image
02. Additional NAVCAM image from sol 1185
03. Related YouTube clip
04. NASA PDS Analysts's Notebook: additional data for sol 1185
05. Image source: Eldonia fossil
06. Image source: Another Eldonia fossil
07. Image source: Collection of Ordovician bryozoan fossils
edit on 26-3-2018 by jeep3r because: formatting




posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 11:51 AM
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There is also another oddity look in the lower right hand corner of the original photo . Looks like they might fit together ..
edit on 3/26/2018 by Gargoyle91 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 11:56 AM
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originally posted by: Gargoyle91
There is also another oddity look in the lower right hand corner of the original photo . Looks like they might fit together ..

I think I see it: it's what looks like a smooth, rounded pebble, such as you might find in a stream bed or at the shore. It's distinctly different from every other rock in the picture.



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 11:56 AM
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a reply to: AndyFromMichigan

Yep stands out .



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:01 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

Nicely put together thread
, I can clearly see your stated similarity to the right hand Ordovician bryozoan fossil, well spotted!!

I can see the second rock also mentioned, could it be an early version of "ball in cup game"




posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:05 PM
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originally posted by: Gargoyle91
There is also another oddity look in the lower right hand corner of the original photo . Looks like they might fit together ..


Also another of different material that looks like a ball, just above the indicator box and little right of center. This ball shaped object and the one in the lower right corner seem to look like the same material.

ETA: The small ball shaped object (above, right of center of indicator box) looks to be about the same size as the hole in the primary object. It looks almost like it would fit together as a joint of some kind. If the ball is flat on the bottom (which we can't see), the oval piece in the lower right corner could fit on top making something like a ball joint (I know it's a stretch). I wonder if there are other pieces laying around?

Cheers - Dave
edit on 3/26.2018 by bobs_uruncle because: ETA



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:07 PM
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a reply to: Gargoyle91

Well spotted. There's also another smaller sphere to the top-right, but I just noticed that bobs_uruncle beat me to it!



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:08 PM
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The object looks quite cup-shaped, especially in the 3-D view. On the idea of it being a fossil: Being the only one in view is not necessarily a problem. It might simply be the only one in the camera's field of view, or the only one that happened to be exposed, at the moment, due to wind-shifted dust.

Could be something merely geological, too. Something like an eroded spherical concretion, or a geode. Both are fairly common on Earth.

For those unaccustomed to using 3-D pairs of images: It's easiest to get the 3-D effect, with one's eyes fairly near the screen.



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:11 PM
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originally posted by: UpIsNowDown
a reply to: jeep3r

Nicely put together thread
, I can clearly see your stated similarity to the right hand Ordovician bryozoan fossil, well spotted!!

I can see the second rock also mentioned, could it be an early version of "ball in cup game"


Thanks, mate! Regarding the ball in cup game, I didn't want to go as far as to imply an entire civilization once thrived on Mars. At least not with this thread!



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:16 PM
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originally posted by: jeep3r
a reply to: Gargoyle91

Well spotted. There's also another smaller sphere to the top-right, but I just noticed that bobs_uruncle beat me to it!



LOL. I know what it is! It's a fossilized cadbury egg! The primary object is one side, the secondary (lower right) object is the other side and the tertiary object (ball) is the creamy yoke center! ;-)

Cheers - Dave



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:18 PM
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And right above it there is a miniature of the famous face on mars



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r






Definitely a Dune worm


edit on 26-3-2018 by Skywatcher2011 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:36 PM
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Before we get too excited about the prospect of Martian hip joints, I'm thinking this is probably pieces of something that fell off the lander. It seems to be very clearly artificial, and the most likely source for such a thing is, sadly, the Mars probe itself.



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:36 PM
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Nice catch.

INB4 "its just rocks".



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 12:40 PM
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A long overdue fossilized sea creature, but they won't tell you that. Just say it's a rock and they leave you alone..



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 01:15 PM
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originally posted by: AndyFromMichigan
Before we get too excited about the prospect of Martian hip joints, I'm thinking this is probably pieces of something that fell off the lander. It seems to be very clearly artificial, and the most likely source for such a thing is, sadly, the Mars probe itself.


Martian hip joints would be cool! As mentioned, I was also thinking that it might be debris from the sky crane.

In that case they would have probably investigated it more in detail, just as they did when a plastic piece fell off the rover some sols back.

The disc-shaped feature in the OP would have made a great target for the MAHLI hand lens imager, but unfortunately they didn't take a closer look.



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 01:24 PM
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Rock almost directly above it looks like a skull. All kinds of fun rocks in this pic.



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 01:33 PM
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I'm pretty sure the spheres are "blueberries". The main object in question looks like a hollow concretion that got broken in two.
edit on 26-3-2018 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 02:17 PM
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holy molly..
That is strange



posted on Mar, 26 2018 @ 02:37 PM
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originally posted by: wildespace
I'm pretty sure the spheres are "blueberries". The main object in question looks like a hollow concretion that got broken in two.

Yeah, there are a lot of those lying around, actually. When I was looking more diligently, I tried to look more for spirals or some other shape that would be more difficult to have formed without the delicate touch of life.


There are odd shapes all over the place, however, it's pretty hard to say if they're fossils. Here's one from the other day, Sol 1996.

mars.jpl.nasa.gov...
Here's another one, this one from Sol 2004. It's very small.

mars.jpl.nasa.gov...


edit on 26-3-2018 by Blue Shift because: (no reason given)




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