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Thread: Mars Image: What is This?

  1. #1
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    Mars Image: What is This?

    An image from Mars Global Surveyor in orbit above Mars:



    The crater must be very large. Does there appear to be a perfectly spherical object in the crater? Has this image been discussed before? The site hosting that copy of the image acquired it from here:

    Mars Global Surveyor Image Collection
    http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/fullres/divid.../m1501228a.jpg
    http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/m15012/m1501228.html

    The original is exactly the same but includes a larger area. In some regional images there are some slightly similar features, but none as notable as the feature above. What are we looking at?

  2. #2
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    Yeah back in 2000 under very mysterious circumstance Greg Norman lost his ball on the 17th at Castle Hill during the Open - me thinks they found the ball. Bloody long hit for a 3 wood though.

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    Re: Mars Image: What is This?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Goddard
    The crater must be very large. Does there appear to be a perfectly spherical object in the crater? Has this image been discussed before? The site hosting that copy of the image acquired it from here:

    Mars Global Surveyor Image Collection
    http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/fullres/divid.../m1501228a.jpg
    Circular? It looks more like a nose to me.

  4. #4
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    Wow, Disney is opening a new Epcot Mars!

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    Perfectly spherical for various wide definitions of "spherical".

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    sure its a bump? looks like a volcano with the crator on top

  7. #7
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    I just think this is what you call an "unusual-looking crater." There appear to be others in the Acidalia Planitia region as well, along with adjacent "tubes" that were discussed here a few months ago. As you can imagine, this is making the woowoo rounds as a cursory search revealed. Maybe someone here with better geological/crater formation knowledge can add something here but if I had to venture a guess I'd say something bubbled up from the crater surface after an impact. The fact is, if you look hard enough, there is always going to be unusual looking craters, "tubes," "trees" etc .. the woowoos even found a Martian equivalent of Mt Rushmore! With all the recent talk of coverups involving color pics and whatnot, I wonder how the woowoos can reconcile the release of pictures showing "artificial domes" in craters. It seems they invoke the coverup angle only when it suits them.

  8. #8
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    Couldn't it just be the remains of the rock that made the crater?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer17
    I just think this is what you call an "unusual-looking crater." There appear to be others in the Acidalia Planitia region as well, along with adjacent "tubes" that were discussed here a few months ago. As you can imagine, this is making the woowoo rounds as a cursory search revealed. Maybe someone here with better geological/crater formation knowledge can add something here but if I had to venture a guess I'd say something bubbled up from the crater surface after an impact.
    Right, as I noted there are similar features in the region. Here for example in the upper right-hand corner and lower center are two somewhat similar formations apparently also in craters which tends to suggest some kind of emergent phenomenon, ie, perhaps heated by an impact some kind of matter bubbles up in single big bubbles from under the surface. The one seen above is most remarkable, and despite someone's saying "Perfectly spherical for various wide definitions of 'spherical'," it does appear to perfectly spherical as per standard definition.

  10. #10
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    Most craters have central peaks, formed as the liquified material rebounds and solidifies, just not as large as this one, relatively.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Goddard
    The one seen above is most remarkable, and despite someone's saying "Perfectly spherical for various wide definitions of 'spherical'," it does appear to perfectly spherical as per standard definition.
    The one I'm looking at seems flatter on one side.

  12. #12
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    A bunch of the craters in the original MGS image have mounds in the middle. They look like some sort of dunes to me, as do the "tubes".
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milli360
    The one I'm looking at seems flatter on one side.
    Yeah, the one in the center here, which is the one "perfect one," seems to be slightly covered on its dark side by soil falling on it from the crater wall. Unfortunately the site hosting the image at the top of this thread seems unstable. So anyone following this, click on the link in this reply and make sure you're not looking at the a browser-reduced version.

    What's curious about this is that if we consider an artificial hypothesis, then the object's origin could be anywhere in the universe, eventually crashing into Mars. However, given the similarity to regional features, the weight of evidence favors natural formation. But to the deeper matter of analytical philosophy: when viewing alien terrains one has to question what are the criteria for entertaining artificial hypotheses? Because we are looking at places where the rules of formation are to some unknown degree outside our experience, there are no clearly defined "artificiality criteria." Therefore, such hypotheses about observed formations are arguably categorically foolish.

  14. #14
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    AHA! I think i'ved got the answer.

    Ok picture this.....

    A crater is formed.
    Sand piles up inside over time.
    also over time wind blows accross the crater from all dirctions
    Because of line of sight the edges will be blown away but the centre remains intact. because the opposit crater wall will block the wind.

    Leave for a few thousand years and hey presto one mound inside a crater!

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    http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...a/PIA05003.jpg

    I'm surprised that the woo-woo's haven't jumped all over this one yet. there is a drain pipe looking thing in the lower left corner, and about 4 inches (on your screen) to the right of center, a cylinder. These are curious, but I'm not ready to believe that a Martian top fuel dragster blew it's engine near an old public restroom.

  16. #16
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    Regional Context

    Here's a collage I assembled of similar geological features in the Acidalia region of Mars.



    The "perfect sphere" is in the upper left image. Fascinating formations!

  17. #17
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    Those really are interesting.

    I wonder if they are impact craters, but an impact into some kind of viscous material -- maybe frozen terrain? which partially melted on impact.

    It would be fun playing with various materials to see if there is some way to make an impact look like that.

  18. #18
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    There is no scale on the swath, but calculating from the pixel size the crater is ~450 m in diameter. No that large. Like all young small craters it will be bowl shaped in section, therefore any deposit with in it will be more or less circular.

    Sand-laden air blowing across the crater will deaccelerate and drop sand in the middle, building up a mound, in this case ~130 X ~120 m. There are three small traverse dunes on the surface with a spacing of ~10 m.

    Whether sand builds up on the windward, leeward or within the dune will depend on the wind velocity and the size of sand particles. Examples of all three can be found on earth and mars

    Jon

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    I have to agree with JonClarke here... If it were impacta, you would expect the deposit to be centrally located more often. Look at Ian Goddard's collage, you can see the mounds in the middle are positioned off centre essentially without exception - which leans me toward an aeolian origin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freddo
    I have to agree with JonClarke here... If it were impacta, you would expect the deposit to be centrally located more often. Look at Ian Goddard's collage, you can see the mounds in the middle are positioned off centre essentially without exception - which leans me toward an aeolian origin.
    That's a good point. During my earlier search of Acidalia Planitia anomalies I came across references to a sandstorm in that region which obviously indicates wind and I totally ignored it for some reason. #-o BTW, thanks to you freddo, I now know what "aeolian" means. :wink:

    Edited twice - once for spelling, another time to properly humble myself :wink:

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    I wonder if they are impact craters, but an impact into some kind of viscous material -- maybe frozen terrain? which partially melted on impact.
    Yeah, maybe a slush-like surface so soft the meteorites did not disintegrate. Maybe the off-center location of most of them is a kind of deflection that occurred. Everyone's offered good ideas. Amedas' and Jon Clarke's sand-dune hypothesis is attractive, especially in light of the Martian dunes we discussed in this thread that match crescentic dunes on Earth. Those weird Martian dunes are so spherical I think that could be the leading hypothesis in this case.

    But an oddity is that there appears to be linear stripes across the rounded formations seen in the first two images (upper left to right). I'm not sure if the sand-dune hypothesis can explain those apparent features. It's interesting to note that land formations in the region also have unusual striping, suggesting some wider regional geological cause for these nested spherical formations.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer17
    BTW, thanks to you freddo, I now know what "aeolian" means.
    What can I say - I'm a walking thesaurus.

    But an oddity is that there appears to be linear stripes across the rounded formations seen in the first two images (upper left to right). I'm not sure if the sand-dune hypothesis can explain those apparent features. It's interesting to note that land formations in the region also have unusual striping, suggesting some wider regional geological cause for these nested spherical formations.
    Why doesn't it explain it? Consider it this way. For a ridiculous amount of time, the only thing shaping Mars' terrian (aside from impacts) is the wind. It's still shaping Mars today. Consider that the mounds themselves may have taken up more or less permanent residence inside the craters once they were formed. Essentially the main body - the mound is not going anywhere. However, there's going to come a time when there's too much material to exist in the lee of the crater, or the prevalent weather pattern affects the top layer.
    These linear stripes look a whole lot like rippling dunes, just on a smaller scale when viewed in the context of the actual mound. You'll note (referring again to your collage) that these ripples only seem to occur in the deeper craters - where the higher ridges are likely to break up windflow more dramatically.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddo
    These linear stripes look a whole lot like rippling dunes, just on a smaller scale when viewed in the context of the actual mound.
    That's a really good hypothesis! Some Martian soil, or sand, seems to have a cohesive quality that allows it to hold together better than dry soil, or sand, on Earth. The cohesive quality of the airbag-disrupted Martian soil was noted both in this thread and then by a NASA scientist (see my reply in that thread). While the scientist observes that soil around the Pathfinder and Viking landing sites did not have this cohesive quality, perhaps it's somewhat widespread and might allow sand to be formed by the winds into shapes that would otherwise fall apart.

    The cohesive quality of some Martian soil reminds me of Moon soil, such as seen in the famous footprint photo. It might be because the soil particles are very ragged-edged broken fragments that were micro-ejecta from meteorite impacts. Dry smooth-edged sand like we find on Earth when pushed into a mound falls apart, or spreads out, since the particles roll over each other. But with rough, jagged edges, particles would tend to stick together, holding the forms into which forces shaped them. In this light, the mud-like character of the Martian soil around the Spirit may mean that sand was deposited long after any water evaporated, since the presence of water might smooth out particles.

  24. #24
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    Well, didn't Al Shepard said, "It goes miles and miles and miles..."

    ;-)

    Harald

  25. #25
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    martian armadillo in his burrow [crater]

  26. #26
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    The kooks have discovered it....

    http://www.xfacts.com/spirit2004/index.htm

    ](*,)

    On the other hand, the soil may in fact be acting like mud... http://www.space.com/missionlaunches...ev_040116.html

    I love it when nature is stranger then even the kooks can imagine.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift
    The kooks have discovered it....

    http://www.xfacts.com/spirit2004/index.htm
    I expect it will get more attention. In the meantime, we've assembled supporting argumentation in this thread for a causal mechanism of the Martian "golf ball": wind-formed sand dunes similar to other dunes on Mars and consistent with observed cohesive characteristics of Martian soil.

    While the suggestion at the site you cite that NASA may be altering the color of Rover images to hide the "golf ball" is indeed patently ludicrous, it's worth noting that I don't think we should see artificiality hypotheses per se as inherently ludicrous. SETI searches are looking for signs of artificiality, and there have been times during such searches that artificial hypotheses were raised. When the first pulsar was discovered in 1967 astronomers were so surprised they raised the hypothesis that it was an alien beacon. I don't think that was inappropriate. But in all those cases artificiality hypotheses were abandoned under the constraints of falsification criteria. Discontent arises in us when others do not subject themselves to such constraints.

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    I think one of the things woowoos overlook when making claims of a coverup is that legitimate artificial structures would be a boon to NASA and spark a renewed interest in manned Mars exploration. IMO it would not be in NASA's, or in extension, the government's best interests to cover anything like this up. At best, this "coverup" would only be temporary anyway as other countries will go there down the road.

  29. #29
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    Looks more like a slightly raised area of sand dunes to me. The shadowing is not right for anything spherical. Sand dunes exist and are common on mars, especially within craters.

    H@

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    I think this image from Spirit is highly suspect

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