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Mysterious Appearing Mars Rock

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#1 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 07:57 PM

Dave, others,

Do you know if anyone has done an overlap-of-images of Opportunity Sol 3540 and Sol 3528 to see if there are, in addition to the new rock, scorings/fragments/modifications of what was already in 3528? Can you do an overlap? If we could then we might get some idea of direction and causation; wheel-spin-out, meteorite ejecta, rock fell from some nearby rock face.

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#2 GregLee1

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:25 PM

Look at the two photos cross-eyed, so that you merge the images. (It didn't tell me anything.)

#3 Footbag

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:05 AM

I looked at both images for a good half hour. I didn't see a single pebble or score mark on the ground. It does seem odd that the rock managed to land so perfectly that it didn't disturb the ground.

I do wnder what the other side of the rock looks like. And the composition makes it a bit more interesting.

#4 Rick Woods

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:34 AM

I looked too; I saw a few differences, but they all looked like they were probably just lighting effects. If that rock had been thrown from an impact somewhere, it seems like it would have disturbed the site more. And I don't think Opportunity moves fast enough to fling rocks out of its way. (Plus, hadn't it been stationary for a while before those pictures were taken?)

It's very mysterious, especially since I don't particularly think it was placed there deliberately.
Maybe it "just growed?"

#5 Andy Taylor

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:50 AM

It's very mysterious, especially since I don't particularly think it was placed there deliberately.
Maybe it "just growed?"


A Martian mushroom! Edible life on Mars! :jump:

#6 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:51 AM

Can anyone think of a similar event arising with any of the other manned or unmanned craft in the past?

Otto

#7 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:51 AM

Can anyone think of a similar event arising with any of the other manned or unmanned craft in the past?

Otto

#8 PeterR280

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:58 AM

what is the size of the rock?

#9 Rick Woods

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:46 AM


It's very mysterious, especially since I don't particularly think it was placed there deliberately.
Maybe it "just growed?"


A Martian mushroom! Edible life on Mars! :jump:


... or a Martian toadstool! :vomit:

#10 llanitedave

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 12:20 PM

According to Squyres, its composition is like nothing they've seen before. If you look at the terrain that Opportunity has been exploring, it's a pretty consistent plain of wide-spread sedimentary deposits, even where craters have penetrated to some depth. An object kicked up by Opportunity's wheels wouldn't be this chemically distinctive. I'm more and more leaning towards ejecta debris from a relatively distant impact.

#11 Andy Taylor

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:05 PM

I think that it has been thrown up by one of these...

Martian dust devils

#12 groz

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:48 PM

If you read the abbreviated logs on the public website, sometime between the two photos, they had an 'unexpected dust clearing event' for the solar panels, with an associated dramatic increase in power production.

That actually bodes well for a theory that uses martian weather as the force that deposited the new stone. It would be very interesting to see photos of what was happening around the rover during the 'dust clearing event', and get a feel for just how violent it really was. It could also bode well for a theory of a nearby impact, which caused a rather high wind, possibly shock wave of some sort.

#13 Rick Woods

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:03 PM

I dunno; I don't think the air on Mars is thick enough to move a rock. It takes a pretty severe dust storm to even get small gravel to move by saltation. I'll be very surprised it this ends up being what happened.

I'd still like to see some navcam pictures of the site of the turning maneuver before and after the turn, to see if the target rock was there before and missing after (implying a tiddlywink effect).

#14 buddyjesus

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:55 PM

with the atmosphere being so thin i doubt it was the wind too.

does anyone know if this rock looks like other martian rocks nearby?

#15 StarWars

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:35 PM

Mysterious rock found by Mars rover.... :o

A jelly dough nut size rock that mysteriously appeared in front of the rover. :foreheadslap:


http://news.yahoo.co...s-rover-1457...

(I wonder what flavor)

#16 llanitedave

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:55 PM

with the atmosphere being so thin i doubt it was the wind too.

does anyone know if this rock looks like other martian rocks nearby?


According to Steve Squyres "It's like nothing we've ever seen before".

The main argument in favor of it being carried by dust devils is that its shape involves a large surface area, and its composition being high in sulphates means its density is rather low. Even so, it seems a bit of a stretch.

So does the ejecta debris, actually. And so does anything else I can possibly imagine. It's extraordinary, whatever the explanation.

#17 Glassthrower

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:35 PM

Maybe it's a meteorite.

#18 maugi88

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:16 PM

Has anyone seen the newest color images of it. Its got a lot of white, ice like colors to it, mixed with the color of mars dust. It has even a hollow ish shape to it. Like it was a part of the rover was covered in ice (the end of a metal tube or camera or something) then the part warmed up or moved and the formation fell off.

In the new color pictures it looks like a dusty piece of ice. Would explain how it just appearing there. Can you imagine the odds of a meteor hitting mars and either part of it or its ejected material landing right next to the rover? Must be astronomical.

You would think the experts would have come to that conclusion if this was it. I guess it must not be just ice that fell off the rover, they would have thought of that right?

Anyway that's what it looks like to me.

Does the rover have any CO2 tanks or chemicals of some kind that could have caused ice to form on the end of one if its parts? Then it falls off and kind of compresses into this rock like looking blob? You know, not water ice but some other frozen chemistry?


#19 Mister T

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

All I know is there is at least one stage scenery hand looking for work

#20 maugi88

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:53 PM

Has anyone seen the newest color images of it. Its got a lot of white, ice like colors to it, mixed with the color of mars dust. It has even a hollow ish shape to it. Like it was a part of the rover was covered in ice (the end of a metal tube or camera or something) then the part warmed up or moved and the formation fell off.

In the new color pictures it looks like a dusty piece of ice. Would explain how it just appearing there. Can you imagine the odds of a meteor hitting mars and either part of it or its ejected material landing right next to the rover? Must be astronomical.

You would think the experts would have come to that conclusion if this was it. I guess it must not be just ice that fell off the rover, they would have thought of that right?

Anyway that's what it looks like to me.

Does the rover have any CO2 tanks or chemicals of some kind that could have caused ice to form on the end of one if its parts? Then it falls off and kind of compresses into this rock like looking blob? You know, not water ice but some other frozen chemistry?

#21 JonNPR

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 07:39 PM

I posted some thoughts on the observation in the General Astronomy forum, but that thread is mainly dedicated to joking about the rock and so forth. So what do you think in terms of science?

-- I was reminded of a broken open geode from here in Oregon when looking at the color photo. Not that it features a nest of crystals inside similar to geodes, but that it appears on my screen to be hollow - an inside and visible inner surface, with jagged irregular edges around a broken rim of a once vaguely spherical rock, that broke open under stress.
-- If it does have a roughly hollow ball structure, the undamaged whole rock was lighter and more fragile than a comparable solid object.
-- The fragment seems small, when looking back and forth to the portion of the rover in the "before" photo and not just at its enlarged photo. I didn't see mention of its diameter in the article link. Anyone know the estimate?
-- Hollow rocks on earth are formed in various ways. When found in igneous formations they have volcanic formations - "volcanic bombs", or lava-ish steamy mud that has hollows - bubbles - as it dries out. Others form from water flowing over sediment or other surfaces and washing out holes over long - long! - periods of time. Mineralized water that seeps into these and then dries out,then is replaced with more will leave mineral deposits, whether forming crystalline formations or simply colored layers of a solid mineral. Various minerals have characteristic colors, such as magnesium (purple amethyst, iron, copper, and sulfur - that last mentioned in the article about the rock). Definitely some coloration visible in the interior.

Jon

#22 llanitedave

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:19 PM

Whatever it is and however it arrived, it seems to have landed fairly gently. There seem to be no bounce or skid marks nearby, and no fragments of it dislodged by the impact.

Still mysterious to me.

#23 maugi88

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:32 PM

Has anyone seen the newest color images of it. Its got a lot of white, ice like colors to it, mixed with the color of mars dust. It has even a hollow ish shape to it. Like it was a part of the rover was covered in ice (the end of a metal tube or camera or something) then the part warmed up or moved and the formation fell off.

In the new color pictures it looks like a dusty piece of ice. Would explain how it just appearing there. Can you imagine the odds of a meteor hitting mars and either part of it or its ejected material landing right next to the rover? Must be astronomical.

You would think the experts would have come to that conclusion if this was it. I guess it must not be just ice that fell off the rover, they would have thought of that right?

Anyway that's what it looks like to me.

Does the rover have any CO2 tanks or chemicals of some kind that could have caused ice to form on the end of one if its parts? Then it falls off and kind of compresses into this rock like looking blob? You know, not water ice but some other frozen chemistry?


So NO then?

#24 dyslexic nam

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:35 PM

To me, the biggest mystery is why we are all still talking about a single, relatively distant picture taken 2.5 days ago, when the object is sitting beside a rover with a whole host of cameras. It seems to me that they could publish a better pic of an object hat has been noted on many many media outlets and generated a lot of interest.

Edit: on the NASA Opportunity site, it sounds like this was found on Jan 8th. I am not one of the faked-moon-landing conspiracy nuts, but 14 days seems like an inordinately long time time to go without posting any sort of follow up picture. It seems like all we have been given in that time is a theory that Opportunity may have somehow flipped over a rock and we are seeing the underside - despite the fact that this looks very different than any other rock, is apparently made up of chemicals in a ratio previously not seen on Mars, and appears amongst no other disturbed rocks.

I dunno - just seems sketchy. Now where did I put that tin foil hat...

#25 Footbag

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:44 PM

In the color images, the rock does look like it could be ice. As well, the rover edge is shown in the before photo. It was a lot closer to the area then I realized. Something falling off the rover or being kicked up is seeming likely.

I'm thinking the composition suggests a meteor, right? I think this is one of those cases, assuming it was a meteor, that odds are irrelevant. Do you calculate the odds of a meteor strike on mars over a 12-day period? Or do you have to calculate the odds of a meteor strike occuring within the view of any rover that has been on Mars? Or any rover that has ever been anywhere off planet Earth?

I don't know. I do wish they told us more or showed us more.






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