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Nasa baffled by soil properties on mars in latest photo.

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posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 11:57 AM
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NASA have just admitted they have no idea what these patterns are in the earth around the lander.

This is a section of the latest close-up image from mars (a 40mb tiff file). I have altered the lighting and sharpened it slightly to ease viewing.



As you can see, the retraction of the air-bags has dragged the soil and there are definitely points where the supposedly dusty, dry soil has rippled and torn as if it has a cohesive crust. This is bizzare, and in the press conference just now, they admit they are totally stumped.

NASA picture archive

Any thoughts? Have we got any geologists here? Could this surface clog the wheels of the rover?



[Edited on 6-1-2004 by Zzub]




posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Zzub

Have we got any geologists here?



What an ironic situation. We had one, before.

Anwyay, good find Zzub.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:08 PM
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To me it looks like dried Magma. But I am not a geologist so it could be something totally different.

It looks to be solid so I don't think it will affect the rover. I wonder if it was liquid at one point or if the formation is caused by wind erosion.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:08 PM
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Could that be caused by frozen water???



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:12 PM
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Why would dried magma lumps appear only where the airbag was dragged? I can't see that, personally.

To me it looks like a crust which has been dragged, which is what the experts at NASA are claiming. It can't be moisture as it's freezing there (obviously) and it would be brittle.

It's the points where it has folded that I find wierdest. That indicates a cohesive, sticky, surface. I hope they figure it out.

btw, the latest 40MB tiff image from the pan-cam is amazing, if you can download it, it's well worth a look.

I'm following this mission closely, I've got NASA TV on 24 hours a day at my desk. It's fascinating at the moment.


[Edited on 6-1-2004 by Zzub]



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:16 PM
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Wet sand? Dried martian kitty litter?
Very bizarre.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:20 PM
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I don't know for sure but, it would make since that when the airbags were draged they would remove a cover of dust to reveal the magma underneath. Like I said before this is my best guess on the pic.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:21 PM
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nice!!!


very odd...I'm downloading the bigun' as I type...



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:22 PM
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Is there a transcript or video of the press conference available?



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:22 PM
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The rumours abound such as does Mars really have an atmosphere? Some are claiming that NASA is delibertly making the photos red because in fact the sky is bluish due to slight oxygen atmosphere there and they wish to hide it from us?

Then this weird picture, did not some lifeform check out our little probe or is that idea too far out?

Let us see a picture that zooms out in that direction.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:23 PM
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You could be right, I am no expert on exogeology!

To me, I'm seeing a light cover of lighter, reddish dust, with a darker crusty layer a couple of mills thick, This layer is seperate from the darker under layer.

The bags dragged the lighter soil off towards the camera, in places, the layer underneath has seperated from the lower layer.

I dunno, but it's sure wierd. They say they saw similar on the viking lander photos.

The conference is being replayed on nasa tv right now.

www.nasa.gov...

[Edited on 6-1-2004 by Zzub]

[Edited on 6-1-2004 by Zzub]



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:28 PM
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Zzub,

thanks for your intrepid efforts.

I assume that some are thinking that moisture is an issue here in the soil?



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by THENEO
I assume that some are thinking that moisture is an issue here in the soil?


I don't know what to think. I'm baffled. NASA called it dura-crust

www.jpl.nasa.gov...

The marks have thier own web page now on the JPL site.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 12:52 PM
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I'm not a geologist by training, but it looks like a fine metalic powder would react to the airbags. This is of note, since Mars is supose to be covered in Iron OXIDE, not pure metal. Basicly, need more data for any conclusion.

If it is metal, rather than metal oxide that would actualy sugest Mars never had much water or Oxygen.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:18 PM
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Has anyone really studdied the panorama? There's a larger black rock in the lower right corner that has some strange erosion. There are hole-like sections, which look like what you would expect if water were to erode it, rather then just air...



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:25 PM
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Do you mean this rock?

I wish I knew more about rocks. My geology is practically zero. It looks to me like uneven erosion, but by what, I have no idea, air or water? I'm guessing air/dust.

That panorama contains so much, I've been looking at it for hours.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:27 PM
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yep, that's the rock.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:28 PM
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I've been watching NASA TV too, the 'mark' left by the air bag retraction is indeed intriguing!? Unfortunately my geology is also zilch - the rock looks porous.

I'll be staying tuned to this one - they're planning another high-resolution look at the 'cohesion' before the drive off the lander.



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:34 PM
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Like many of the rocks on Mars, it's likely meteorite debris.

Looks to me like the soil may be similar to what we called "desert mud" in Saudi. It's basically like dry, cracked soil over a layer of gravel-like material. Only, theirs doesn't have the cracks, because of no moisture in it to evaporate. That might explain it....



posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 01:37 PM
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A little image sharpening... and...
WHAT IS THAT? It looks like ... uh ... plant life? [Edited on 7-1-2004 by SkepticOverlord]



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