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Old 10-28-2017, 10:05 PM
 
Location: PRC
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I just want to ask you guys what this is or what might have caused such a hole please? It looks as if it is a large hole in the side of a rock, although somehow I do not think we are going to get a closer look at it - even if it does look strange.

Top left of this image.
https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-im...29E01_DXXX.jpg

OK, IF it is just a normal rock, I can accept that, but NOT that this rock has a what-appears-to-be manafactered opening in it. So maybe the question should be, who or what created that opening, because the Mars wind and rain sure did not and it does not look like an image artifact.

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Old 10-29-2017, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
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Why does it have to be manufactured? It could have been from a lava tube or from underground water. I've seen hundreds of circular openings through rock during my speleological excursions, and none of them were manufactured. The rocks get to the surface as a result of crust tectonics.
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:26 AM
 
Location: PRC
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The conditions and environment on Earth are very different to the one on Mars. Maybe your caving observations are not so relevant to martian conditions since there do not appear to be (m)any caves there, at least not in the areas where the rovers are.

We have not seen any other evidence in rover images of lava tubes or underwater erosion being brought to the surface by tectonic activity - hence the question.

Last edited by ocpaul20; 10-30-2017 at 02:40 AM..
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Hobbits.
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
The conditions and environment on Earth are very different to the one on Mars. Maybe your caving observations are not so relevant to martian conditions since there do not appear to be (m)any caves there, at least not in the areas where the rovers are.

We have not seen any other evidence in rover images of lava tubes or underwater erosion being brought to the surface by tectonic activity - hence the question.
You really do need to do some research.

There are lots of images of caves on Mars, and the rovers have only explored a very small portion of the surface. There is overwhelming evidence that flowing water existed on Mars in the past, as well as tectonic plate shift and volcanic activity. How do you think those jagged peaks and boulders are formed????
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
The conditions and environment on Earth are very different to the one on Mars. Maybe your caving observations are not so relevant to martian conditions since there do not appear to be (m)any caves there, at least not in the areas where the rovers are.

We have not seen any other evidence in rover images of lava tubes or underwater erosion being brought to the surface by tectonic activity - hence the question.
True, nothing near within reach of the rovers. Curiosity is located inside of Gale Crater exploring Mt. Sharp, so even if anything was near enough on the main surface, it wouldn't be able to get there. Opportunity is up on the main surface, but is much too small and slow to travel very far. Both rovers seem painfully slow but necessarily so in order to avoid rocks or other obstacles that might prove to be a potential hazard to the rovers. In addition, it takes time to determine the best course or path for the rovers to travel, and transmit the data to the rovers to move a certain distance. Then when the rovers arrive at the destination and has a look around, they transmit the information back to Earth and wait for the next orders to move on or drill into certain nearby rocks. Communication between Mars and Earth is a minimum of 4 minutes (one-way) and a maximum of about 24 minutes with a midway average of about 13 minutes. There are times when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun from us and is completely out of touch. The differences depend on the location between Mars with the Earth.
Time delay between Mars and Earth | Mars Express

However, it's not correct to say we haven't seen any evidence of lava tubes. We have thanks to images provided by the Viking Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Not only has there been evidence of lava tubes, but of skylights as well (holes formed from the collapse of a tube). Keep in mind that Mars also has a number of volcanoes, Olympus mons being the largest one. It's uncertain if they are all completely extinct, or if at least some might still be dormant. None appear to be active though.
Mars Express Spots Lava Tubes On Pavonis Mons

https://marsed.asu.edu/mep/583

Mars Travel: Mars Photo of the Day - Dec 20 2011

https://www.space.com/18519-mars-cav...es-photos.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_lava_tube
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:49 AM
 
Location: PRC
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So, this possible lava tube or underground water courseway is an important find then? Not for me but for the rover.

If it was anything important or unusual, dont you think it would be worth investigating a bit more? After all, thats what we are there for.

I get the feeling these rovers are more like a scientists joy-ride (OK, at 4 miles per hour or whatever). The opportunity to examine these passed-by features will never happen again as time will have gone on and the scientific focus will have shifted. It is highly unlikely that there will be a rover in this area again and so it seems a wasted opportunity for scientific investigations to be carried out. Maybe someone should question the use of the tax dollars and whether the best value is being extracted out of what money the scientists are given.

I understand the need for mission goals and objectives, however there have been several times where features and unknown objects have been ignored (some would say, conveniently) because the rover drivers are doggedly sticking to their objectives rather than making best use of the opportunity which is presented.

Rover Opportunity for example, has been there since 2004 so is well past its sell-by date and it could easily be used to investigate interesting features now that the primary objectives and many extended mission objectives have been achieved.
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Old 10-31-2017, 03:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
So, this possible lava tube or underground water courseway is an important find then? Not for me but for the rover.

If it was anything important or unusual, dont you think it would be worth investigating a bit more? After all, thats what we are there for.
Yes, lava tube are an important find because they could potentially be used as shelter for habitats or a base. The tubes could provide a significant layer protection from intense solar radiation and cosmic radiation. Mars has an atmosphere, but it's extremely thin. Mars has no global magnetic belts which on Earth act as a shield from such radiation. There are several magnetic pockets from the ground, but not enough to serve as global magnetic belt do. I'm not sure how effective these smaller magnetic pockets would be though.

I agree about investigating unusual things. There are loads of interesting features that would be great to investigate more, but it can't all be examined up close. Some features may be too hard to get to because of rocks or more difficult terrain. The primary object is to examine Mt Sharp. To do that means looking for the easiest accessible paths up. At the bottom of the crater, there have been a few occasions that Curiosity has gone off the "trail" (so to speak), but the terrain was smoother and less risky. Since it's already on the base of the mountain, there's no point in backtracking by going back down. The path going up is always being looked at to find the safest way to keep going forward. If you recall, there was a decision to send Spirit rover to the bottom of a crater by the safest path that could be found. Once at the bottom, Spirit would never be able to return to the surface again. As it turned out, Spirit got a wheel stuck in soft sand and couldn't move. Attempts were made to try to free it up, but it just got worse. In the end, it was the end for Spirit. All it could do is continue sending signals until its power supply quit. Apparently, Spirit was unable to align itself so that its solar panels would keep charging the rover. Spirit gasped its last. The last thing anyone would want to have happen to Curiosity would be to have the $2.5 billion rover get permanently stuck. Curiosity has had a few close calls, but the problems have been remedied enough to keep it going. Its wheels are showing severe wear from crossing the rugged terrain.

Gale crater was chosen as a location to try to discover any signs that Mars may have ever had a wetter environment in the past. It's also to look at the geological layers of Mt Sharp as well. So far the evidence has been pretty compelling that the crater was filled with liquid water in the past creating those layers which helps provide a better understanding about part of the history of Mars. There have been signs that flowing water (streams) was once on Mt Sharp.

I would've loved to have seen Curiosity first head for the walls of the crater to better examine areas where water had seasonally gushed out from the walls creating gullies, and to look for any evidence of microbial life, either living or long extinct, at the base of the walls. However, one problem is that the crater wall is quite a distance to reach from where Curiosity landed, then try to turn around to go back to the mountain. While Curiosity can cover more distance at a faster pace than Spirit or Opportunity, that's not saying much. It's still very slow going. As it is, gullies along the crater walls have been spotted by Curiosity looking back from where it is on Mt Sharp. Another problem is it could only get so close. If the wet spots are still relatively fresh, the rover could risk getting bogged down in mud, unable to move.
https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/deepzoom/PIA20333/

The search for liquid water is important though because if anyone is going to be on Mars for any extended period of time, then liquid water is going to be essential for survival. If underground liquid water can be found, then wells and pumps would could be installed.

Right now, any areas, such as the crater wall gullies are to be avoided. One reason is because of international agreement that IF there is microbial life present, there would be a need to avoid contaminating it with earthly microbes. That's a problem. As sterile as Curiosity could be before launch, there is no way to have 100% sterility. There are always going to be a certain number of earthly microbes present whether we like it or not. The problem that presents also means that it would not be certain whether any detection of microbes are from Mars or from Earth. Regardless, Curiosity was not designed to detect life. It was designed primarily to look for evidence of whether Mars ever had a climate that could have been suitable for life to emerge. The evidence that Mars did have a suitable climate in its past is not conclusive but it is very compelling to believe that it did. Curiosity did get a couple of brief whiff of methane, but they weren't long lasting, and can't be determined where is came from. It's possible the gas came from above the crater rim up on the surface and drifted down into the crater to be detected by Curiosity.

It won't be until the next generation of the rover is sent to Mars in 2020. That rover will be equipped with a different package of instruments and a drill that can dig much deeper into the soil. Curiosity can't scratch in very deep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
I get the feeling these rovers are more like a scientists joy-ride (OK, at 4 miles per hour or whatever). The opportunity to examine these passed-by features will never happen again as time will have gone on and the scientific focus will have shifted. It is highly unlikely that there will be a rover in this area again and so it seems a wasted opportunity for scientific investigations to be carried out. Maybe someone should question the use of the tax dollars and whether the best value is being extracted out of what money the scientists are given.
It could be pretty exciting to control the rover, but I suspect after a long time over the years in doing that it could become pretty routine with perhaps not quite the same level of thrill. The whole point of have rovers on Mars is that it's easier and safer to do than sending humans to Mars. Rovers, etc., are better able to do the initial exploration. When the time comes to send a human crew to Mars, we want to be sure of their survival, even though there will still be great risks.

That said, assuming that people can successfully survive on Mars and more people go there, some of those people are going to go out and explore things in greater detail. If they find something weird, they might bring it back to the base for further examination. There is a value to all this in that it will provide better technologies to benefit humankind. There can always spin-offs that we might not imagine right now. And it will help determine what we can do in space and on planets like Mars. We may not see those benefits right away, but we'll more than likely see them later on in the future. The things we do today, are the things that can help set our course for the future. Right now, we're still very much in the stage of taking baby steps. We're still learning. We can't do everything at once. Just because some things aren't done as you or I might prefer, doesn't mean it's a waste of opportunities and tax dollars. In my opinion, one thing we should do for big projects, is to make it an international venture with more people pooling together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
I understand the need for mission goals and objectives, however there have been several times where features and unknown objects have been ignored (some would say, conveniently) because the rover drivers are doggedly sticking to their objectives rather than making best use of the opportunity which is presented.

Rover Opportunity for example, has been there since 2004 so is well past its sell-by date and it could easily be used to investigate interesting features now that the primary objectives and many extended mission objectives have been achieved.
What would you have them do with the rovers? What kind of features and unknown objects would you have them examine? Keep in mind that the ultimate objective is to determine how we can put people on the surface of Mars and survive. Indeed the ground personnel need to "doggedly" stick to the primary objectives, the same objectives the rovers were built for. Occasionally, they do veer a bit from the course, but generally they need to stick to the mission. If the mission is successfully accomplished, then fine, other objectives can be done. I'm pretty sure people are looking ahead for times when the main mission is over.

While Opportunity has lasted far beyond what is expected, which is quite remarkable, it won't last forever. It will eventually fail. When is anyone's guess. It could last several more years, or it could fail next week. The same it true for Curiosity, although I'm not too optimistic it will ever be brought down from Mt Sharp. But you never know.
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:53 AM
 
Location: PRC
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Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
...I agree about investigating unusual things. There are loads of interesting features that would be great to investigate more, but it can't all be examined up close. Some features may be too hard to get to because of rocks or more difficult terrain.
...
Quote:
I would've loved to have seen Curiosity first head for the walls of the crater to better examine areas where water had seasonally gushed out from the walls creating gullies, and to look for any evidence of microbial life, either living or long extinct, at the base of the walls.
...
Quote:
The search for liquid water is important though because if anyone is going to be on Mars for any extended period of time, then liquid water is going to be essential for survival. If underground liquid water can be found, then wells and pumps would could be installed.
I have always been interested in the satellite photos too. Some of these show possible areas we could investigate for water etc. This one below for example shows an area of Maunder Crater shows what appears to be some kind of liquid shooting out of the cliff face. Of course it is unlikely but given that there are other areas where seasonal water appears, then why not?


This one has been taken from the ESA site. Zooming in does look like they are forceful spouts of some type of liquid coming out. Possibly an optical illusion but they are curved as if they are under the force of gravity. This is what it would look like on Earth anyway.
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
...
...
I have always been interested in the satellite photos too. Some of these show possible areas we could investigate for water etc. This one below for example shows an area of Maunder Crater shows what appears to be some kind of liquid shooting out of the cliff face. Of course it is unlikely but given that there are other areas where seasonal water appears, then why not?


This one has been taken from the ESA site. Zooming in does look like they are forceful spouts of some type of liquid coming out. Possibly an optical illusion but they are curved as if they are under the force of gravity. This is what it would look like on Earth anyway.
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
I see what you're talking about, but it's hard to guess. My opinion is that I doubt it's water spouting out from the side of the crater. Most of the tell-tale images suggesting evidence of the action of liquid water tend to be shown as dark streaks as seen from orbiters, would be little more than mud - water mixing with dusty soil creating what are called "recurring slope lineae". Over several passes by the orbiters, these dark streaks seem to come from the walls of some craters and get longer, then eventually diminish and disappear. If you were on the surface reasonable close, I'd guess you might actually see the water flowing out higher up, but as it gets farther from the source, while the water is still moving, it's being absorbed by the soil like a sponge. You can't directly see the flowing water anymore - just the temporary wet darkening mud.

In the images of Maunder Crater, again it's hard to guess what we're seeing. Is it water bursting out, or is it pareidolia? To be that forceful, as you're suggesting, I think it would require a lot of internal pressure forcing the water to burst out through weak walls, looking like a brief, but very large waterfall. What we're not seeing are the dark streaks, the recurring slope lineae, that are typically seen.

Recurring slope lineae tend to be seasonal (martian summer) in areas where it's warmest. It seems most occur near the equator in the region near the Southern Highlands and the Northern Lowlands which is where the warmest areas in summer would be. They occur on slopes that exposed to the sun. It's thought that water in such instances are probably very salty (toxic) which would prevent it from freezing. When water exposed to the thin martian "air", it remains briefly in a liquid state and quickly turns into a gas state leaving behind only the dark trail which eventually fades from view.

Since we're not seeing suck dark trails in the Maunder Crater, we might instead be seeing lighter-colored sandslides or loose gravel that has been long settled. Rockslides have been caught in the act on Mars by seeing elongated dust clouds along the walls of craters. The curvatures seen on Maunder Crater are more likely related to the shapes of various indentations or wrinkles in the slope. Gravity would be at work causing objects to drop downward, but small pebbles or sand grains would follow the downward part of the indentations in the wall and pile up in there. The walls, although steep, aren't like sheer cliffs. It's also possible windblown dust and sand grains from the upper surface could pile up in the linear channels of the crater wall. And if Mars has any marsquakes, that could also cause the movement of sand to pile up in channels and grooves along the crater wall. If I recall correctly, In May 2018 a lander called InSight equipped with a seismometer is expected to be used on the surface to determine if quakes occur on Mars. There are a lot of possibilities of what the Maunder Crater shows. If it was a massive burst of water, subsequent passes over the crater would likely show evidence of darker streaks in the soil.
https://insight.cnes.fr/en/INSIGHT/GP_seis.htm

With regard to Curiosity viewing of the walls of Gale Crater, as far as I know, no recurring slope lineae were seen in progress, but rather gullies or channels caused by the action of falling water at some point in the past. Curiosity had also examined close up on Mt Sharp what look like stream beds with smooth rocks and layers that are formed by the action of moving water causing small rocks to tumble. Wind and windblown dust and grains can also contribute to the erosion of rock resulting in some pretty odd shapes.

The limited detail of the image of Maunder Crater is such that it's difficult to clearly see exactly what is there. It would require a much closer view. That's not likely to happen any time soon though. Still, perhaps in the future some kind of r/c flying drone with a camera could be used to examine such phenomena in closer detail. It's worth noting that Maunder Crater seems to be a rather old and worn crater. Not exactly the kind of place you'd want to send a rover to. I'm not sure a person would want to go into it either, unless they had a powerful jet-pack to get in and out with.
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