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HiRISE and Mars Polar Lander
ugordan
post May 12 2008, 08:22 PM
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Sigh, I think looking for this thing is an exercise in futility AND a recipe to get mad. The amount of topography and albedo differences in some images is crazy, looking for a tiny object down there is madness. I just gave one single image almost a full going-over and I swear I'm starting to see things. Tell me I'm nuts, these things in the image below can't be the parachute and the lander. I know the "lander" is just too big to be real, but you've gotta admit it looks out of place there and almost even shows blast marks underneath! In reality I'd expect MPL to appear the same pixel size as in the half-res context above, not twice that.



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Juramike
post May 12 2008, 08:47 PM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ May 12 2008, 03:22 PM) *
Sigh, I think looking for this thing is an exercise in futility AND a recipe to get mad. The amount of topography and albedo differences in some images is crazy, looking for a tiny object down there is madness.


I dunno.

But I think you might have the perfect image for the worlds most evil jigsaw puzzle. smile.gif


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nprev
post May 13 2008, 01:36 AM
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I like C! smile.gif

I dunno, man, just don't know. They look more compelling to me than other purported finds...in fact, the "lander" almost looks like it made a successful descent. That topography is just a mess, though, and definitely promotes the Rorschach Effect.

We might need to send a cam with 1 cm resolution to find the damn thing in this stuff. Guess there's still a possibility we might get super-lucky and catch a specular reflection if there's some reasonably bare metal exposed & the geometry happens to be right.


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ugordan
post May 13 2008, 11:08 AM
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Neglecting the feasibility of actually acquiring that dataset, can you imagine what an effort it would be to inspect the entire landing ellipse at 1cm resolution? We're talking about a 600 times larger pixel area than even this (already huge) amount. That would undoubtedly require a computer pattern recognition algorithm, no human would venture into sifting through that systematically. All the more because we don't even know what we're looking for - deployed chutes, broken heat shields or just a single crater. It's not that easy to tell a computer "find everything out of the ordinary!" either.

I wonder what effects to metal surfaces (or parachute) a 9 year exposure to this environment would produce. Are we even sure this sublimation and frosting process didn't already bury all hardware or at least coat it with a thin layer of dust and rendered it part of that environment? Additionally, how does albedo in this region compare to equatorial sites, are we expecting metal surfaces and the parachute to jump out or is the terrain here much brighter (apart from certain very dark areas)?

So many unknowns...


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tedstryk
post May 13 2008, 12:48 PM
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I am choosing to ignore this thread until Phoenix is safely on the ground biggrin.gif


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tim53
post May 13 2008, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (tedstryk @ May 13 2008, 04:48 AM) *
I am choosing to ignore this thread until Phoenix is safely on the ground biggrin.gif


Hi folks!


I don't know if it's been said elsewhere, but the easiest way to display these huge jpeg2000 files is to download a copy of ExpressView from Lizardtech.com.

I've been using that for searching for hardware, even though I have Photoshop CS3 with the jpeg2000 plugin installed, as Expressview is a lot faster at opening the files.

In my own search of the MPL site (and other lander hardware) images, I found it takes me about 4 hours to search each HiRISE image.

I have a "candidate" possibility for MPL, but there are problems with that set of objects being the lander, not the least of which is that nothing stands out in the MOC images of that same area taken within weeks of the loss of MPL. Sadly, it's dark there now, and it will be several months before any search imaging can resume.

I'll tell you where this object is, but it might be more fun to see if someone else notices it - sort of a qualitative eyeball calibration exercise, in effect!

-Tim.
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MarsIsImportant
post May 13 2008, 08:35 PM
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I found a candidate site for the lander. Currently, I'm downloading the source JP2 file so that I can get a much better look; but the feature is totally out of place. It could still be part of a cave entrance of some sort, so I need a much better look. It appears to be about the correct size and has maybe created a very small crater.

I'm excited...it is by far the most promising feature I've seen after review about half of all the HRISE images in this area. Not all of the terrain is as bad as some suggest.
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climber
post May 13 2008, 08:39 PM
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QUOTE (tim53 @ May 13 2008, 10:34 PM) *
Hi folks!
I have a "candidate" possibility for MPL, but there are problems with that set of objects being the lander, not the least of which is that nothing stands out in the MOC images of that same area taken within weeks of the loss of MPL. Sadly, it's dark there now, and it will be several months before any search imaging can resume.
-Tim.

Well, can you at least point out THE image ?

Oups, I notice, while typing tha Marsisimportant has one too! I hope it's the same image! Can you share the image and see what we'll see?


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elakdawalla
post May 13 2008, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (tim53 @ May 13 2008, 01:34 PM) *
I have a "candidate" possibility for MPL, but there are problems with that set of objects being the lander, not the least of which is that nothing stands out in the MOC images of that same area taken within weeks of the loss of MPL. Sadly, it's dark there now, and it will be several months before any search imaging can resume.

Just to be clear, is your "candidate" the lander, an impact site, or the parachute? I'm preparing a Web page with info for the search and I was going to tell people that the parachute/backshell was the best object to be searching for, with examples of what they look like at the successful landing sites -- should I also try to give examples of what the lander/crash site should look like? If so I'll need some help from image magicians here to come up with sample images.

--Emily


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ugordan
post May 13 2008, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (MarsIsImportant @ May 13 2008, 10:35 PM) *
Not all of the terrain is as bad as some suggest.

Indeed, I seem to have picked out the worst image to start. About the only thing interesting in that whole image I could see is this funny-looking rock:
Attached Image

Almost looks like a black bathtub, pretty out of place for that whole region. I hope others are having more luck.


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MarsIsImportant
post May 13 2008, 09:17 PM
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I finally have a real close-up view of my feature. It is strange. I'm not so sure it is the lander, unless the parachute landed on top of it and is completely draped over it.

Here is a view.

Attached Image


There is nothing like this anywhere near. Most other features nearby are dark colored sand dunes.
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djellison
post May 13 2008, 09:20 PM
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Remember, the MPL lander dropped away from the backshell and chute before landing. It would have to be a quite exceptional coincidence for either, the parachute to land right on top of the lander, or, the landing process to work fine until the lander was due to separate and then fail. Also, the parachute should be much much brighter than that. Even pathfinders 10+ year old parachute is whiter than white to HiRISE
Doug
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ugordan
post May 13 2008, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE (MarsIsImportant @ May 13 2008, 11:17 PM) *
I finally have a real close-up view of my feature. It is strange.

Someone over at the Bad Astronomy site has shown that same area, which image is that? I haven't ran across a feature like that. It looks like a hill to me, do you know what direction the illumination is from?

Doug, if only we could be 100% positive there was a chute deployed. For all we know, the lander could have blown up the minute after last contact prior to entry and we'd still only have the most likely cause to assume (40 meter high crash).


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djellison
post May 13 2008, 09:39 PM
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Oh - I agree with that point, we don't know if the parachute deployed. However, if it did, it's going to be very big, very bright and very obvious indeed. You would find it easily with HiRISE. There wont be an 'is that the parachute' sort of moment - it'll be 'that IS the parachute'. I was saying, in response to 'unless the parachute landed on top of it' that there's no way the parachute would be a not-obvious object.

If the situation arises when we've got the full ellipse in HiRISE and there's no Parachute and backshell, then the failure mode has to be backed up to between cruise stage sep, and chute deployment. i.e. the entry process.

Doug
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Guest_Sunspot_*
post May 13 2008, 09:44 PM
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Some areas of the landing site look VERY dangerous, I suppose it's possible MPL failed at touchdown after a successful Entry and Descent.
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