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Thread: Martial Spherules or Blueberries

  1. #1

    Martial Spherules or Blueberries

    I would like to open a discussion on Martian spherules as it seems to me that there is not enough evidence in the images sent back by the Rovers to support the theory that they are concretions of minerals or rock.

    Now, I dont know what they are, but it seems to me that there should be places where these things fall out of the rock they formed in - in which case there would be piles of them where they have been formed. If they are dropping out of where they are formed as they get dislodged by the wind etc then we should see rocks full of these concretions (since there are so many spherules lying around on the ground in some areas).

    As I say, I dont know what causes them, so please dont ask me. I have a few way-out and whacky ideas but I do not think you want to hear these and they are not appropriate in this forum.

    I would like to hear alternative theories or reasons why the current theory for martian spherules is reasonable (ie: show evidence in the images to support the theory).

  2. #2
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    You only speak about the images sent back by the MERs. Have you investigated the data collected by the other instruments on board Spirit and Opportunity?
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  3. #3
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    Unless you're willing to present and defend one of those wacky ideas, this thread seems better suited for S&T than for ATM. Moving.
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  4. #4
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    This wiki page deals with the evidence and the competing hypothesis that they were volcanic in nature and why that hypothesis did not win. The main MER page has more of the secondary evidence like the presence of other minerals that were formed in water etc.

    The main piece of evidence of course is the fact that they put a spectrometer onto a bunch of the spherules and they detected haematite!

  5. #5
    Well, Jim Thanks for that. You are obviously not happy unless you have whacky ideas to debunk but this time I am not going to encourage you.

    There may well be analysis of spherules which shows they are haematite but there does not appear to be any visual evidence for where they come from. As I said before, wouldn't it be easy to see thousands of spherules just waiting to be released from the place where they formed? We have thousands apon thousands of MER photos of Mars showing rocks and landscape and you would have thought that there would be some visual evidence to back up such a hypothesis.

    It seems it may be a case of fitting the results to the question unless the scientists can show a starting point. I am not disputing that they may be haematite. I am not disputing that there may have been water in the past on Mars.

    What is wrong with questioning how the scientific opinion was arrived at, and how it is justified. To say that an object is made of some material is not the whole story and it needs at least more than a couple of spectrometer analyses to determine what they are and where they came from.

    If you are happy with the incomplete explanation, thats fine, but I hope you do not call yourself scientists because scientists investigate things with an open mind. They do not fit incomplete results to the questions, accept the answers, and leave it at that.

  6. #6
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    How about studies of similar formations right here on Earth?

    Spherules are observed in the Atacama desert at Salar Grande, Guanaco, and Monturaqui. The sites are marked by aqueous, volcanic and impact processes, respectively. They show characteristics of the Martian "blueberries" the formation of which is still debated. Our goal is to understand the processes that generated the various types of spherules in the Atacama, and help constrain the origin of the blueberries.
    Quote Originally Posted by ocpaul20 View Post
    Now, I dont know what they are, but it seems to me that there should be places where these things fall out of the rock they formed in - in which case there would be piles of them where they have been formed. If they are dropping out of where they are formed as they get dislodged by the wind etc then we should see rocks full of these concretions (since there are so many spherules lying around on the ground in some areas).
    I'm not sure what you are saying here. It sounds like you think they should have piles of them that were dislodged, as well as rocks still containing them. In fact, both were found.
    blueberries still in rocks
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  7. #7
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    Back in 2004, NASA/JPL released plenty of images of spherules embedded in rock. Here's one such image.
    Embedded spherules were discussed extensively on the BA boards too. Here's one thread from back then:
    So what's opportunity's bedrock made of ?
    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    In the lower edge of the image, just right of center, is a circular feature inside the semicircle of the cut.

    Looks to me like they sliced one of those round nodules right in half!
    Also see Discussion: Opportunity Grinds Away for more on the rock abrasion tool slicing up embedded blueberries.

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