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Jim Bell Q'n'a, Questions Please
djellison
post Jan 22 2006, 11:06 PM
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Jim Bell's agreed to do a brief Q'n'A in a few days time, so similar to the one I did for Steve, I want your questions! Try and keep it quite 'current' if you can, as we're going to make this more a 'news' outlet than a look back type chat.

We're going to try, if this one works, to do these every couple of weeks or so, a bit of Rover news and a bit of Q'n'A each time, but we'll see how this one goes first!

Fire away people smile.gif

If they're all crap, don't worry, I've got LOADS in mind.


Doug
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CosmicRocker
post Jan 23 2006, 12:24 AM
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Doug: I understand that Jim Bell is the Pancam expert, but also an integral part of the MER team. Do you expect questions to be mainly about imaging, or are any general MER questions acceptable? Any guidelines?

For an imagery question, I'd like to ask him to shed some light on the odd-looking luminosity histograms displayed by the raw jpegs (the weird stretching).


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Phillip
post Jan 23 2006, 01:34 AM
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I would like to hear a current and honest diagnosis of Oppy -- will she be able to travel long distances again, so Victoria is even in the cards? What percent of her original travel capabilities remain? Is she at 100%, 80% what?? If no one knows yet, that is ok, but I would like to know what is the "best current estimate".

I miss Oppy's travels! sad.gif
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dot.dk
post Jan 23 2006, 01:40 AM
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QUOTE (Phillip @ Jan 23 2006, 01:34 AM)
I would like to hear a current and honest diagnosis of Oppy -- will she be able to travel long distances again, so Victoria is even in the cards?  What percent of her original travel capabilities remain?  Is she at 100%, 80% what??  If no one knows yet, that is ok, but I would like to know what is the "best current estimate". 

I miss Oppy's travels! sad.gif
*


In relation to that question I would like to know how much testing went into the new stow position for the IDD. And how comfortable they are driving with it. Do they have to check the position after every stow now to make sure it is placed correctly?

I think Oppys wheels are as good to go as ever (apart from the steering actuator).
wheel.gif smile.gif


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Phillip
post Jan 23 2006, 02:06 AM
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On the Spirit side, I would like to know:

1) Before Spirit gets there, what do the members of the MER team think, in their heart of hearts, that "homeplate" is? (And I would be interested in hearing what the UMSF community thinks too at this "last moment" before we are actually there); and

2) What is the current thinking (admittedly before peer reviewed papers can be published) of the significance of salts at Arad? I thought it had become pretty well acknowledged that Gusev, if it ever was a sea, has been buried by meters and meters of deposits -- how do salt evaporites fit into that "big picture"? (I think Sqyures agreed to that concept in your last Q&A) Did water seep UP into those deposits after the sea disappeared and deposits covered it over? I, for one, am confused.

PS Is the MER team as itchy as I am to finally get to homeplate after so many months (years?) of wondering what it is????? Do they view homeplate (as I do) as the scientific pinnacle of this mission to date?

PPS Does the MER team appreciate that they are joining the paragon of Lewis and Clarke in exploration??? (at least from a U.S. perspective). Do they realize that they rank in the tops of historical explorers and how does that make them feel (ok that may be too general of a question, but that is what I would ask). These guys rock and even if our media ignores them, they need to be reminded of the historical significance of what they are doing, from time to time.
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dvandorn
post Jan 23 2006, 03:57 AM
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QUOTE (Phillip @ Jan 22 2006, 08:06 PM)
1)  Before Spirit gets there, what do the members of the MER team think, in their heart of hearts, that "homeplate" is?  (And I would be interested in hearing what the UMSF community thinks too at this "last moment" before we are actually there)
*

Look at the vertically-exaggerated image posted here.

Home Plate seems very obviously, in this stretched image, to be the remnant of an impact crater. There are several impact crater remnants in the inner basin, here. Each seems to have been formed in a surface that was a good many meters higher than the present surface -- those missing several meters have been deflated from this terrain, by some process, leaving the shocked "pedestal" remnants of the deeper cratering forms.

Remember, when you make an impact crater, you don't just affect the surface. The disruption caused by the cratering event goes well under the surface, consisting of impact melt (if the impact is energetic enough) and shocked, brecciated rocks.

The crater remnants we're seeing on the surface look like the brecciated and shocked rocks that were originally created in a bowl-shaped lining beneath this cluster of impact craters. I can see traces of at least five different craters within the inner basin, here. (The ridge of rock Spirit is passing right now is, in fact, a small crater remnant.)

As for Home Plate, it sits within the largest and most well-defined of these crater remnants. Maybe such layers were exhumed in *all* of the craters here, and have since been completely eroded away -- but that doesn't seem right. We have traces of several craters, and in only one of them do we see any trace of this lighter-colored material.

I'd have to think that either the impact target composition was different where the Home Plate impact occurred -- which seems a little unlikely when you consider some of these impacts are only a few tens of meters apart -- or that some other substance was deposited in Home Plate crater that wasn't deposited in the other craters. (Or that has been completely deflated from the other craters, if it ever existed there.)

So, logic *seems* to point towards post-cratering material deposition accounting for the light-rock ring. Personally, I think it could have been water deposition. Home Plate could have been a puddle that was filled and dried thousands of times (maybe with an internal artesian spring) that resulted in aqueous transport and deposition.

Or, it could have just been a good wind trap and it trapped a lot of light-colored dust. Hard to say.

I'm not only interested in the light-rock ring's composition, I'm getting very curious about the erosion process that deflated the original surface. Could aeolian erosion have deflated *that* much surface, even over a few billion years? Do we need to postulate aqueous erosion, or even glacial erosion?

Maybe the specific composition and erosion patterns we see on the light-rock ring will help us puzzle that out.

-the other Doug


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edstrick
post Jan 23 2006, 06:08 AM
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Question for Jim Bell:

The usual left cam 3-channel multispectal imaging is bands 2,5,7 <near-IR,green,violet> Sometimes we have other color combos like 2,5,6 or 2,4,7 or 3,5,7 (or some such.. I'd have to go back and check examples).

All of the alternate sequences seem to produce images with degraded color discrimination: two of the channels are too similar to each other, and you typically get images that are dominated by long-vs-short wavelength differences and the color differences due to the middle channel (reflecting curvature in the spectrum) are less discriminated.

What's the rationale behind some of these other filter sequences during only 3 filter color imaging?


Oh.. regarding HomePlate... it's obviously the fossilized pizza-crust of the gods. Heaven help us if Spirit finds 1 meter fossilized pepperoni, ...or anchovies!
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Toma B
post Jan 23 2006, 08:34 AM
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QUOTE
I would like to ask Mr.Squyres what he personaly think about this:
Will Opportunity ever reach Victoria crater?

Jim Bell.....same question?


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djellison
post Jan 23 2006, 10:17 AM
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Not sure exactly how we'll go, obviously Jim will know things outside the realm of just Pancam, but obviously, it'd be interesting to keep it imaging related. No strict rules though - we'll see how it goes smile.gif

Doug
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paxdan
post Jan 23 2006, 11:45 AM
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Next time they are doing earth observations can we get a little notice so i can go outside and wave wink.gif

I'm also curious about the scope of nightime observations possible. An update about the status of the meteor searches and if they have more than one unambiguous trail.

Also what about cometary or asteroid observations? Could the PMA be used like a star tracker during long PANCAM exposures.
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helvick
post Jan 23 2006, 02:11 PM
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With regard to mission lifetime are there any indications that the cameras are degrading?

Do the "true colour on mars" claims annoy you as much as they annoy us?

If the rovers lose mobility but remain semi-operational what sort of imaging plans would be put in place?

What is the lowest power level the rovers can continue to operate on in that situation?

The rapid release PR images (the "Raw" data on the JPL and Exploratorium sites) are immensely popular with us amateur image nuts but their usefulness for more advanced processing is limited by the automatic contrast stretching that is applied when they are converted for release to these sites. Are there any plans to release actual "Raw" images more rapidly or would that be seen as a bad idea since they would be uncalibrated and would still be potentially unreliable data.

What (for you) was the biggest surprise of the MER mission?
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odave
post Jan 23 2006, 03:39 PM
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QUOTE (paxdan @ Jan 23 2006, 06:45 AM)
Could the PMA be used like a star tracker during long PANCAM exposures.


Seconded...


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hendric
post Jan 23 2006, 04:18 PM
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Obviously it's a little hard to tell from the preliminary models on the MSL website, but it looks like they don't have HAZCAMs or stereo capability on MSL. Is this accurate? How useful are the stereo cams on MER? MER used the same CCDs across all the cameras. Would you recommend MSL do the same?


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djellison
post Jan 23 2006, 04:29 PM
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I believe MSL has Stereo imagery up on the mast http://www.msss.com/msl/mastcam/index.html - and it will obviously require some sort of Hazcam's for IDD work, but I'll try and ask about that one at some point. The more 'general' questions I'll save up, the one's that are a bit more 'here and now' are the sort I hope to ask.

Doug
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RNeuhaus
post Jan 23 2006, 08:43 PM
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Will the MSL make short panoramic films on Mars? If not, why not? This will lead us to discover some strange movements.

Will incorporate some kind of special camera to take sky pictures in order to study the formation of dusts, clouds and meteorite phenomen?

Rodolfo
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