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geology of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp
David Palmer
post Jun 21 2014, 01:49 PM
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The idea that the Lower Formation of Mt. Sharp is of lacustrine origin (lakebed sediments) has rather fallen out of favor recently, but I just finished my essay on Mars, "An Interpretation of the Geology of Gale Crater & Mount Sharp, with Implications for the History & Habitability of Mars," which I have spent over one year researching and writing, and the primary thrust of this paper is to offer a fresh defense of the lacustrine model, incorporating some fairly original ideas on my part. I'm not a professional scientist, but this is a labor of love that springs from a near-lifelong interest in Mars (since I was a young boy in the 1960s). And I'm trying to publicize it prior to Curiosity reaching Mt. Sharp, as that will be a test of my theories, and I'm hoping to get some recognition if I'm right. So here's the link for all interested readers: http://galecratergeology1.tumblr.com/post/...le-crater-mount
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PDP8E
post Jun 21 2014, 08:23 PM
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Hi David,

What A fact filled first post!
Your paper is thought provoking, and I was surprised to find part 2, 3, and 4 after I finished reading the first!
Thanks for sharing and we shall see how your theory fits reality in the coming weeks, months, and years.
(I always thought those channels looked young!)

NOT SWEET! (read it to find out!)

cheers!



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elakdawalla
post Jun 23 2014, 03:33 PM
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Hi David, it's clear you've put a lot of work into this. I do think you need to recognize the work of others by labeling the images on your pages with the missions and institutions that produced them. A partial list of who should be credited for data of various kinds can be found on this page on copyright on The Planetary Society website.

And this piece of advice is not just for you, but for any non-professional who wants to have their ideas on science taken seriously. It's important to demonstrate that you take other scientists seriously as well. In science you do that by demonstrating an awareness of what other people have written on the topic. Some of what you've written here likely agrees with other scholars; some disagrees. It's on you to show where your ideas fit in -- whose previous scholarship do you agree with? Whose are you contradicting? What specific arguments can you make that demonstrate that your ideas hew closer to the truth than the ones you're contradicting? You certainly wouldn't be the first to talk about lakes within Gale crater, or to map the heights of deltas! There is a very extensive literature on Gale crater already, as I'm sure you know. It's one thing to chitchat on a forum, but if you want to join the scientific conversation you have to listen to what others have to say and make counterarguments, and you demonstrate that you've listened to what others have to say by citing previous work in the area. I don't see a single citation on your page, so what you have right now is a thoughtful and well-illustrated blog entry, not a scholarly contribution. You don't have to be a professional to make a scholarly contribution, but you do have to respect the work of others in order for them to respect yours.

So the next step, if you want to be taken seriously, is to cite previous work, and then distill this into a 2-page abstract and submit it to the next Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; the abstract deadline is usually right around the end of the year. There's no requirement that you be a professional to present work at a conference. Choose a poster presentation rather than a talk; the conversations around posters are much more fruitful.


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PDP8E
post Jun 23 2014, 09:01 PM
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my post (above) seems to have replicated itself...
was that the glitch?

Odd - I've removed the duplicate text. - Mod


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David Palmer
post Jun 23 2014, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jun 23 2014, 08:33 AM) *
Hi David, it's clear you've put a lot of work into this. I do think you need to recognize the work of others by labeling the images on your pages with the missions and institutions that produced them. A partial list of who should be credited for data of various kinds can be found on this page on copyright on The Planetary Society website.

And this piece of advice is not just for you, but for any non-professional who wants to have their ideas on science taken seriously. It's important to demonstrate that you take other scientists seriously as well. In science you do that by demonstrating an awareness of what other people have written on the topic. Some of what you've written here likely agrees with other scholars; some disagrees. It's on you to show where your ideas fit in -- whose previous scholarship do you agree with? Whose are you contradicting? What specific arguments can you make that demonstrate that your ideas hew closer to the truth than the ones you're contradicting? You certainly wouldn't be the first to talk about lakes within Gale crater, or to map the heights of deltas! There is a very extensive literature on Gale crater already, as I'm sure you know. It's one thing to chitchat on a forum, but if you want to join the scientific conversation you have to listen to what others have to say and make counterarguments, and you demonstrate that you've listened to what others have to say by citing previous work in the area. I don't see a single citation on your page, so what you have right now is a thoughtful and well-illustrated blog entry, not a scholarly contribution. You don't have to be a professional to make a scholarly contribution, but you do have to respect the work of others in order for them to respect yours.

So the next step, if you want to be taken seriously, is to cite previous work, and then distill this into a 2-page abstract and submit it to the next Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; the abstract deadline is usually right around the end of the year. There's no requirement that you be a professional to present work at a conference. Choose a poster presentation rather than a talk; the conversations around posters are much more fruitful.




Excuse me, but I cite 66 references in my essay! In fact, that part of my essay is something I put a great deal of work into, it was one of the most time-consuming parts of the process. And as regards the pictures, I state at the beginning of the references, "All photos courtesy of NASA/JPL unless stated otherwise." And when a figure is not from NASA, I do credit it when talking about the figure in the text.

One thing I do differently in my essay, as compared with most academic papers, is to not give captions for the pictures, but to place those pictures directly in the location where I am talking about them. This is in response to something I have found INCREDIBLY irritating about most scientific papers, having to go back and forth in the document to see the figures being referred to. I aimed to make it flow a lot smoother, to read a lot easier.

Dave
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djellison
post Jun 23 2014, 11:49 PM
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QUOTE (David Palmer @ Jun 23 2014, 02:45 PM) *
And when a figure is not from NASA, I do credit it when talking about the figure in the text.


You've included images that I know are not NASA's that do not have a credit in the text, next to the image, or anywhere else.

There is no way to know if an image is NASA's or not.

Moreover - the images that do originate from NASA - "All photos courtesy of NASA/JPL" for most of the images you use - that is an insufficient and in many cases an incorrect credit.

Just one example - the last image of Page 1 is clearly an HRSC image. I see no credit whatsoever.

The image credit should, at the very least, be

CODE
ESA/DLR/FU Berlin


And more properly in a publication should be

CODE
G. Neukum, R. Jaumann, and the HRSC Co-Investigator and Experiment Team, HRSC: The High Resolution Stereo Camera of Mars Express, in Mars Express: The scientific payload, edited by A. Wilson, pp. 17-35, ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 2004.

R. Jaumann, G. Neukum, T. Behnke, T.C. Duxburry, K. Eichentopf, S. van Gasselt, B. Giese, K. Gwinner, E. Hauber, H. Hoffmann, A. Hoffmeister, U. Köhler, K.-D. Matz, T.B. McCord, V. Mertens, J. Oberst, R. Pischel, D. Reiß, E. Ress, T. Roatsch, P. Saiger, F. Scholten, G. Schwarz, K. Stephan, M. Wählisch, and the HRSC Co-Investigator Team: The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) Experiment on Mars Express: Instrument Aspects and Experiment Conduct from Interplanetary Cruise through Nominal Mission, Planetary and Space Science, 55, 928-952, 2007.


If you want to retain flow.... put a one line caption and credit with every single image.

It also is very very easy to miss your references, because they're only at the end of the fourth webpage. Ideally - they should be at the bottom of each section as appropriate.
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elakdawalla
post Jun 24 2014, 12:09 AM
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Ah, my mistake, I did not notice the list of references on the fourth page. The essay is not organized like a typical paper, so I got a little lost -- observations and inferences are all mixed together. On a closer second reading I see you considering models one by one. You're missing any of Malin and Edgett's mapping work on the crater and other mound-filled craters.

Almost none of your photos are from NASA/JPL alone (only Viking and the rover Navcams and Hazcams have that credit, without other institutions like UA for HiRISE or MSSS for Mastcam images). I see at least one photo of mine, which has data from MRO CTX and Mars Express (MSSS and ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)). I believe that there are several other amateur-processed images in your essay but I cannot be certain because they are not labeled as to their source.

I think there are a few really good points in here about inconsistencies in relative timing of events being described by different researchers, points that they should listen to and think about. But the way that this essay is structured, no professional will read it.

Scientific papers have a typical structure and signposts to that structure that really helps a reader. You have an introduction and literature review section, briefly summarizing past work -- here would be a great place to identify the specific logical inconsistencies you have found in those stories. You have a methods section, identifying your data sources and how you went about doing your research -- it should be devoid of interpretation, focusing on the locations of the geomorphic features you are mapping: craters, channels, boxwork, shorelines, etc. Then lay out your two models (the story you tell about the order in which formation and erosion happened for all the geomorphic features you identify in the previous part). Then have a discussion section where you compare your model to others' models -- you have a choice here: you could compare your model to other models one by one, or take geomorphic features one by one and compare all models' explanations for them. Your essay sort of does the latter but we keep coming and going to features and I lose the thread of your argument. Finally you wrap up with conclusions, which may include a section that identifies specific tests of your models. All this stuff is in your essay but it's mixed up, and there's a lot of irrelevant material like your discussion of Martian sky color.

This organization is important, because as a reader I cannot keep everything in my head as I read. I will read, and get partway through, and need to return to literature review and observation and model sections to remind myself of stuff as I read your discussion section. Right now you have a little bit of observation, and some discussion, and then comparison to one paper, and then some different observations, and then discussion, and I'm sorry, but I find it very hard to follow.


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djellison
post Jun 24 2014, 01:20 AM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jun 23 2014, 04:09 PM) *
I'm sorry, but I find it very hard to follow.


I tried - and I'm afraid I had to give up.

You've clearly done a lot of work David - but the devil is in the detail when it comes to gaining professional traction.
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Juramike
post Jun 24 2014, 04:05 AM
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You've put a huge amount of work into this. I encourage you to push it just a few more yards to get it over the goal line. If it's not in the peer-reviewed literature, it doesn't count. (Gray literature can't be cited in many journals.) Worse, someone else can take the ideas, do the extra effort, and get the credit for it.

I encourage you to distill it down to your best concise story ("the slam dunk"), get really, really hardcore tight with the data ("How do I know what I know?"), get really, really hardcore tight with the interpretations ("Can I prove this to a court of hostile scientists?"), and try to find every single reference relevant your research ("On the shoulders of giants"), and submit as a short paper. As you move forward, you may need to tweak the interpretation to fit the observations, or that the evidence doesn't support the interpretation (in which case it's just speculation, and won't hold up to peer review.) In some cases, you may need to modify, scale back, or even abandon the paper.

Most importantly, as Emily mentioned, the key parts of any paper are Introduction - Materials and Methods - Results - Discussion - and Conclusions. That formula works well and allows reviewers and readers to critically evaluate the paper for each step. (Personally, as a lab guy, I think the Materials and Methods section is the most important part. If it is not clear what original work was done, and how it was done, and why that method is valid, then the rest of the paper is weakened.)

For a few suggestions to getting it ready for submission, I'd suggest a reference style where the author names and years are in-line with the text, such as: "blah-blah-blah (Smith et al., 2010)." Or: "As recently described in Smith et al., 2010, blah-blah-blah." Saves having to keep track of reference numbers, and many readers might already be familiar with the references and then don't need to page back to the end of the text or poke around in the footnotes. References are your friend: if someone else has already published something in the literature, you aren't (totally) responsible for defending those concepts. The goal is to minimize exposure. A truly brilliant piece of work uses concepts already in the literature to weave a beautiful tapestry.

Figures should also have a complete as possible caption, and have citations and have the sources acknowledged. They should also be referenced in the text. I like a style that keeps them in-line for the manuscript. (You can sometimes get away with that for the first cycle of peer review.).

An LPSC abstract follows the same rules, but has to pack everything down to two concise pages.

For the record, my first foray into submitting a manuscript in planetary science many years ago was appropriately slammed in peer-review. It was a humbling experience, but ultimately helped me become a better scientist. ("Agressive baserunning, conservative fielding...")

Go for it! And good luck!


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serpens
post Jun 24 2014, 08:04 AM
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Firstly let me congratulate you David, on the level of effort you have put in and I appreciate that this is meant to be an essay rather than a formal paper. Consequently the referencing for papers etc. can simply be a bracketed reference number in text relating to the references summary. Certainly in many articles and papers, including LSPC, authors do not necessarily reference the provenance of images. Still it is polite to do so but make it a list of figures else the referencing clutters the document and you lose continuity. I enjoyed reading this although the format and layout presents a real challenge and the flow of logic is pretty disjointed. All in all it was a bit of a challenge. I am not sure what your end objective is; publication, presentation at a scientific forum or exposure on forums such as this. Regardless, Juramike has pretty well summarised my feelings on layout and presentation, although I suspect that to some extent your format is suffering from the vagaries of Tumblr which is not really a vehicle of choice. Visual presentation and structure is extremely important and it would be sensible to convert the document to .pdf. I would suggest that you don't let ego get in the way, treat this as preliminary draft and start the process of rewriting which is unfortunately an integral part of paper writing. The end results will be worth it.

Enough on presentation. While I don't think that you actually present any new concepts you are trying to present your insights as a cohesive hypothesis, addressing Gale crater as a whole and an effort such as yours deserves a well considered response. I intend to try and sort out (in my own mind) your propositions over the next week or so and I will correspond directly with you by email. Would you mind letting me know your address on the forum messaging system?

Incidentally, I would suggest you use the metric system as opposed to feet.
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David Palmer
post Jun 24 2014, 02:08 PM
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In response to Serpens:

My intention with my essay is purely noncommercial, it is basically a hobby thing on my part, and the more people I'm able to share my ideas and enthusiasm with, the better. The "publishing" of my essay is first and foremost exactly what I am doing here, posting it in online venues with intelligent people who share similar interests (however, Mars Journal has expressed interest in this paper, if I am able to come up with a 15-or-so page summary of my ideas to present in conjunction with the full-length essay).

I have to disagree when you state that I have no original concepts, as no one else has proposed an "artesian hydrant" in Mt. Sharp, and no one else has suggested that there was major fluvial activity (and a lake) in Gale Crater in the recent geologic past (and I discuss the testing of these hypotheses in the section aptly titled, "Testing My Hypotheses," at the start of part 3....it now appears that the time of reckoning will be early 2015, when Curiosity reaches the lower reaches of Mt. Sharp).

One of the purposes of my essay was to not only present my ideas, but to capture the beauty of Mars, and I'm rather surprised that Emily can't relate to my approach, and rather roundly criticizes my essay, since I thought I was doing something in the vein of the blogs she presents, both in terms of the level of (non)technical discussion, and in terms of aesthetics (only on a larger, more ambitious scale). Possibly some of the critics of my essay don't understand exactly what I am trying to accomplish here.

My interest in Mars was originally stimulated when, in the 1960s, I encountered "The Exploration of Mars," featuring the artwork of Chesley Bonestell. And I wanted to be a space artist for a while, but that didn't work out, so the next best thing was to wait till there was enough gorgeous photography available.....which we now have, and which fortuitously coincided with my having some original ideas I wanted to run with. And when I had my ideas a little over a year ago, I figured it might take a couple of weeks to write a paper....little did I know! I ended up having to read hundreds of articles and papers on Mars and Gale crater, many of them rather technical, to feel I had done adequate homework.

The logic I present may be rather hard to follow because the subject matter is so vast (the only paper on Gale that I can think of that approaches this scale is Anderson and Bell's, and they just do a piecemeal analysis of individual features without driving towards an overarching conclusion), and everything in my paper ties together as part of the whole (except for the two tidbits I placed at the end, Notes on the Sky Color of Mars and The Future of Humanity on Mars....that's just bonus material I added, because I thought I had some significant things to say and could also use it as an excuse to further indulge in the presentation of gorgeous pictures).

I basically present my main hypothesis (a recently active artesian hydrant) at the beginning of the essay, where I offer some of the more direct (and interesting) arguments for it (such as the morphology of the channels), and the latter part of my essay is mostly spent elaborating on this idea from different angles, bringing in additional supporting evidence from a wide-ranging survey of Mt. Sharp and Gale Crater, and addressing competing models and demonstrating their shortcomings (and in some cases, taking data that was used to support a competing model, such as SWEET, and showing how it actually supports the lacustrine model). And I was particularly pleased with how I sketched out a new interpretation of cratering frequencies and age determination, and brought in the recent evidence that the crater production function has NOT been nearly constant over time, and the implications that has for Gale.

I am of course going out on a limb in presenting these ideas, but I believe I have outlined a model that is compatible with all known data and explains all of the geomorphology of Gale and Mt. Sharp, whereas the competing models all have internal contradictions, and conflicts with the empirical data.

And you're right, Tumblr has definite limitations, and my essay is NOT formatted the way I originally intended it.....Tumbler definitely has a mind of its own. For one thing, my original manuscript had "block" paragraphing, with spaces between paragraphs. But when I copied and pasted into Tumblr, it eliminated the spaces, and wouldn't let me add them back, so my only recourse was to do the old-fashioned indentation thing. PLUS, I couldn't do the wide panoramic pictures I did in my original manuscript (which in some cases were much wider than the text), so I had to resort to cropping and zoom shots. And, the image resolution on Tumblr is lower than in the original pics.

But the reason I used Tumblr was that I felt I was under the gun and needed to get my essay out there well before Curiosity reached Mt. Sharp, and lacking as I do experience with setting up websites, I needed to work with what I was readily able to figure out, and I didn't have the money to pay someone else to set up a website, and all the other do-it-yourself sites that I checked out, fell even shorter of giving me what I needed. So I worked with what I had.

The reason I mix and match Metric and English, is that I wanted the essay to also be accessible to people who are not fully comfortable with the Metric system yet. This essay makes the attempt to straddle a number of fences (as another example, I only get as technical as I have to, in conveying my scientific ideas), so it can't really be expected to conform to the mold of an academic journal paper.

My address for direct e-mail is RainBoKatchr@aol.com

Dave
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elakdawalla
post Jun 24 2014, 06:18 PM
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My apologies, I completely misread your intent. When you said "And I'm trying to publicize it prior to Curiosity reaching Mt. Sharp, as that will be a test of my theories, and I'm hoping to get some recognition if I'm right" I interpreted that to mean that you were advancing scientific hypotheses for which future Curiosity work would be a test, and you wanted recognition of your scientific contributions if you were right. It seems like that's what you intend; on page 3 you say:
QUOTE
However, dating the cosmic ray exposure age of the channel fill should be exceptionally interesting, and is likely the single most important test of my hypotheses that Curiosity can perform. For if it shows the low exposure age that I am predicting (several million years, or even less in areas subject to a higher-than-average erosion rate), it will confirm both my SAH and YCL hypotheses: that the formation of the Northern Channel’s fill (and hence the occurrence of the Second Generation Lake) was not only a recent geological event, but also had to be a product of the artesian hydrant mechanism I am proposing (as there is no other conceivable source for such a large volume of water within such a recent timeframe).
I interpreted this to mean that you intend to advance your scientific hypotheses among the professional community. That was the basis of my criticism, and I apologize for its harshness because it simply doesn't apply if you're just writing a blog where you have fun discussing features of Gale crater.

So, if you don't actually seek any interest from the scientific community, then almost all of my comments above don't apply. The one thing that does apply is that you need to credit your image sources properly, especially the non-NASA and amateur-processed ones. (NASA images are in the public domain, but ESA ones are not, nor are any "derivative works" of NASA images, including ones published in professional journals.) You've got a fine blog about Gale crater -- a year's worth of blog posts strung end to end. You might get more attention to it from other members of the amateur community if you split it into many, many pieces and posted them as more-digestible blog posts with good titles for each entry; that'll help search engines find you. Do it on Wordpress; it's a much better platform for blogs than Tumblr is.

I agree with Mike that there are some things in here that could be of interest to the scientific community, if that's really what you want to do. But I disagree with him that it's ready for you to rewrite and submit for peer review. I think you would profit a great deal by pulling out your model and your explanations of logical inconsistencies in others' work and putting that in an LPSC abstract and going to LPSC and inviting comment and listening to what scientists have to say.


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djellison
post Jun 24 2014, 08:59 PM
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Of the entire 4 page work - this is the part that I find most obviously factually incorrect....


From section 4 - "there are actually very few perspectives within Gale that show the sky directly above the horizon"

This is patently false. Every image you include after that comment has the sky in it. Every. single. one. There are hundreds - hundreds and hundreds that do - as well as the end-of-drive MAHLI postcards that get taken after each significant drive. Your claim is just totally false.

"NASA now seems to have wised up to what the actual sky color of Mars is, has quietly dropped its former references to the “pink” or “salmon” sky of Mars, and recently there have been photos and panoramas released from earlier surface missions, apparently re-calibrated, that show a green-tinted sky similar to Curiosity’s"

Also false - and the images you include are not NASA's - infact, I think they're Olivier de Goursac's - but you don't credit him appropriately. Many are manual colorizations of navcam mosaics.

And finally - I'm really not sure how it's possibly attempt to conduct a discussion on the color of the Martian sky without including references such as...

BELL ET AL.: CHROMATICITY OF THE MARTIAN SKY
http://marswatch.astro.cornell.edu/Bell_etal_SkyColor_06.pdf

or
MAKI ET AL. : The color of Mars: Spectrophotometric measurements at the Pathfinder landing site
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029...E01767/abstract

You can have you own opinion - but please don't simply brush aside careful scientific analysis because it doesn't match your opinion. That's not scientific. If you think they're wrong - then you have to do the work to explain why. 30+year old anecdotes that have nothing to do with Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity or Curiosity do not constitute scientific discourse.
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mcaplinger
post Jun 24 2014, 09:56 PM
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QUOTE
a green-tinted sky similar to Curiosity’s...

Moreover, as has been discussed at length on this forum, the green tint is largely if not completely an artifact of the Mastcam IR cut filter bandpass, and is not a real feature of the martian sky.


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fredk
post Jun 24 2014, 10:10 PM
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mcaplinger beat me - I was going to link to this post and surrounding discussion on the green cast. Just having a colour CCD on the surface doesn't necessarily tell you very accurately what the colours are, as anyone who's taken a picture with a bad whitebalance setting knows.
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