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acastillo
Posted on: Aug 25 2016, 07:20 PM


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Recent material on mission studies for Uranus and Neptune.

Fact chart on the Oceanus mission:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/aug2...sters/Elder.pdf

More comprehensive presentation on the status of mission studies done at JPL:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/meetings/aug2.../Hofstadter.pdf


I just hope to see one of these missions in my lifetime. These are amazing worlds in the own right.
  Forum: Uranus and Neptune · Post Preview: #232307 · Replies: 28 · Views: 26079

acastillo
Posted on: Apr 27 2016, 11:10 PM


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I suspect, and would encourage NASA to propose and build instruments for this mission, like they do for ESA missions. I am wondering, if we assume little to no redesign of Dragon 2 for Red Dragon, what kind of instruments could it take to Mars. One idea that I have heard before is a deep, relatively speaking, drill. The drill would be housed in the lander, and drill through the floor and heat shield before drilling into Mars. A deep drill on mars would be have amazing scientific return, if landed in the right area. I know that the Planetary Society was helping to enable that technology. What other instrument ideas would make sense?
  Forum: Past and Future · Post Preview: #230627 · Replies: 130 · Views: 55395

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 17 2015, 03:50 PM


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QUOTE (Astro0 @ Jul 17 2015, 04:04 AM) *
A friend made this for their son's birthday.
They'd been waiting for years to be able to make a NH/Pluto cake for them. smile.gif


That is amazing! I can not imagine how long that took to make.
  Forum: New Horizons · Post Preview: #223914 · Replies: 109 · Views: 49513

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 2 2015, 04:48 PM


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QUOTE (PaulH51 @ Jul 2 2015, 02:32 AM) *
If I am interpreting the thumbnails correctly they used 16 separate images to create each the focus merged products. It's the most I have ever noticed, normally we see 8. Thanks to Gerald for the MAHLI Rule. Full size (3801 x 2126) LINK


Beautiful contact! It does not look like an unconformity. It is not obvious to me that any erosion took place between the deposition of the different rock units. However, since the lower unit has substantial veining, and the upper unit does not, there would appear to be a significant change in deposition environment and probably a significant age difference.

I love speculating geology from a 100 million kilometers away.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #222142 · Replies: 999 · Views: 451777

acastillo
Posted on: Dec 2 2014, 05:55 PM


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Great analysis Gerald. I thought these deposits were older than the alluvial fan. I guess it is possible and probably that there were multiple episodes of fan deposition, but given the distinct mineralogy difference, I would suspects a different deposition mechanism.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #215953 · Replies: 546 · Views: 242826

acastillo
Posted on: Sep 17 2014, 04:09 PM


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QUOTE (neo56 @ Sep 16 2014, 02:22 PM) *
Very nice layering here, a "millefeuille" of smooth and rough layers.


I love the cross-bedding in these rocks. This is one place on Mars that looks very similar to sedimentary rocks on Earth.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #213049 · Replies: 387 · Views: 170289

acastillo
Posted on: Aug 6 2014, 02:44 PM


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It would appear that the neck is an "erosional" feature (not sure if erosion is the right word), and maybe not the contact boundary between 2 separate bodies. At some point in the future, the neck will sublime away and the comet will split in two.
  Forum: Rosetta · Post Preview: #211769 · Replies: 191 · Views: 79046

acastillo
Posted on: May 22 2014, 02:21 PM


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Wow! Those look like mud cracks.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #209784 · Replies: 327 · Views: 104756

acastillo
Posted on: Aug 13 2013, 03:26 PM


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QUOTE (iMPREPREX @ Aug 13 2013, 07:00 AM) *
Argh, I know - another 352... rolleyes.gif
I've just worked so hard on this I have to post it. Finally got the sky much better thanks to James Sorenson's help. smile.gif
James' and Damia's are still incredible. The only things I can offer in mine are compass points, enhanced color, a GigaPan, and a 360cities version that doesn't wrap around, hehe.

360cities: https://www.360cities.net/image/sol352


Attached Image


Villa de la Mina looks like an interesting place to visit. Can Curiosity make 117 kilometers?

Seriously, I guess 360citites is not geared to places off planet.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202376 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Aug 2 2013, 01:36 PM


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Conglomerates are not great at preserving organics, so I bet they are not as interested in these. Plus this rock was loose and not part of an outcrop. I do hope they will stop at an outcrop of this rock at some time, but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202094 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Aug 1 2013, 04:02 PM


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I guess that I am not alone. So many rocks. The next rover needs a rock hammer.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202074 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 31 2013, 03:23 PM


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That's pretty ugly.
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #202061 · Replies: 404 · Views: 147176

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 31 2013, 02:56 PM


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They certainly are putting the petal to the metal. It must be frustrating for the geologists on the science team to see all these beautiful land forms passing by, without taking the time to sample them. I know if would have stopped at each outcrop to chip a small sample and do a quick identification before moving on. But that's the difference between a robotic and organic geologist. It probably would have taken a human explorer a week to do what Curiosity has done in a year. Hey NASA, I'm volunteering. No luck.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202060 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 30 2013, 10:28 PM


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Gerald, that makes sense. In looking at some of the HIRISE images of the area, the boulders appears to be concentrated on these nobs and small rises. Could this be because the boulders are creating sand traps where wind-blown sediment is collecting?
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202050 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 30 2013, 07:02 PM


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QUOTE (fredk @ Jul 28 2013, 07:01 PM) *
And now we're practically sitting on top of it:


Visually, this is a particularly fascinating. 4 boulders nearly equally spaced around a little hill. I wonder if it could have been 1 large boulder that broke apart into the 4 large pieces that are slowly separating and migrating down slope.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #202046 · Replies: 549 · Views: 183200

acastillo
Posted on: Jul 11 2013, 10:20 PM


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I am so glad that they are putting a cache on this rover, although the chances of NASA funding a sample return mission are extremely low. Unless, of course, this rover actually finds a rock unit with high suggestive evidence of past or present life.
  Forum: Mars 2020 Rover · Post Preview: #201583 · Replies: 224 · Views: 79682

acastillo
Posted on: Feb 19 2013, 08:28 PM


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I wasn't going to go that far and speculate what gases they could be, if these are truly gas escape structures. The link you provided to the article about the similar structures in Colorado refers to the gas probably being methane. However, I assume any type trapped gas could cause these structures. It is certainly suggestive that the color of the rock they just drilled into indicates a reducing environment. The same type of environment that methane is found on Earth today.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #198282 · Replies: 842 · Views: 238730

acastillo
Posted on: Feb 19 2013, 03:23 PM


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Wow, xflare, that is a great find. The resemblance is amazing.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #198275 · Replies: 842 · Views: 238730

acastillo
Posted on: Jan 23 2013, 03:45 PM


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QUOTE (mhoward @ Jan 23 2013, 08:13 AM) *


Are the minerals in the veins fluorescing, or are they just reflecting the UV light? If I am reading the MAHLI specs correct, the UV LED emits at 365nm, and the CCD's sensitivity drops off at 380nm. So we are probably seeing some fluorescence. From the following website, gypsum fluoresces a yellowish white at 365nm. The color in the MAHLI image is more bluish white. Undoubtedly, there are some other minerals at play, but the evidence for gypsum in the veins is adding up.

Database of Luminescent Minerals

- Andrew
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #197166 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

acastillo
Posted on: Jan 16 2013, 04:13 PM


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QUOTE (Julius @ Jan 16 2013, 06:52 AM) *
Correct if Im wrong..the high calcium content is from the veins along fractures within the rock most likely in the form of calcium sulphate. Does this mean that the water flowing along the fractures was acidic? What about the composition of the bedrock itself? Im not sure whether they ever mentioned anything about its make up and pH of the water these sediments were deposited in?


From my understanding of geochemistry, calcium sulfate (gypsum), does not need acidic water to form. It will precipitate out of solution when enough of the water evaporates. However, gypsum in veins could also form through hydrothermal processes, which are often acidic due to the leaching of minerals from the source rock, but these waters do not represent the surface water conditions.

I wonder if they will sample the rock around the vein to see if the solution that created the vein leached minerals out of the bedrock. That would be a good indication that the vein formed through hydrothermal processes.

- Andrew
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #196923 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

acastillo
Posted on: Jan 15 2013, 05:29 PM


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QUOTE (john_s @ Jan 14 2013, 09:20 PM) *
Best idea I have for the "polyfoam" texture is that the vein material is in the form of fairly large crystals, and that dark surface dirt, or impurities intrinsic to the vein, are picking out the boundaries between the crystals. Very striking...

John



I would have to agree with John. It looks like a lot of mineral veins I have seen in open-pit mines.

Andrew
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #196857 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

acastillo
Posted on: Jan 10 2013, 05:33 PM


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With what is going on with Curiousity, I sometimes forget the amazing landscape that Opportunity is roving in.

Go Opportunity!! wheel.gif
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #196652 · Replies: 157 · Views: 83272

acastillo
Posted on: Jan 8 2013, 04:47 PM


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QUOTE (TheAnt @ Jan 8 2013, 07:49 AM) *
Yet limestone on Earth more often than not have one biological origin made of shells, corals, bones etc. So limestone formation are less likely there.


You are correct that a lot of limestones on Earth are fossiliferous, but limestones can form naturally outside of biology as well. As you really need is liquid water, the right PH and lots of carbon dioxide. Mars has lots of CO2, but did it have liquid water at the right acidity?
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #196582 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

acastillo
Posted on: Dec 20 2012, 03:25 PM


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Nice looking sandstone. Do you notice the clear grains? Looks like they might be quartz. Have quartz crystals been found on Mars yet?
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #196024 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

acastillo
Posted on: Dec 15 2012, 09:03 PM


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Absolutely beautiful! This has to be the most geologically diverse landscape we've seen on Mars yet. I can imagine how excited the project scientist are right now.
  Forum: MSL · Post Preview: #195817 · Replies: 913 · Views: 243509

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