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ElkGroveDan
New Scientist
Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface

http://space.newscientist.com/article.ns?i...line-news_rss20

A new analysis of pictures taken by the exploration rover Opportunity reveals what appear to be small ponds of liquid water on the surface of Mars.

The report identifies specific spots that appear to have contained liquid water two years ago, when Opportunity was exploring a crater called Endurance. It is a highly controversial claim, as many scientists believe that liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars today because of the planetís thin atmosphere.
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centsworth_II
What about mini-tess data? I thought water, and I'm guessing ice,
would show up clearly -- and no such clear signal has been seen
in any of the "wet" appearing locations seen by the rovers.
ElkGroveDan
Of course, based on their theories, one could argue that conditions within Victoria might create something similar.

(....and I have no opinion on this, though I'm leaning hard toward skeptical)
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ Jun 8 2007, 07:11 AM) *
New Scientist
Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface
http://space.newscientist.com/article.ns?i...line-news_rss20

Conference presentations are interesting and entertaining (e.g., those purporting to find chlorophyll and lichens in Mars lander imagery) but wake me up when and if Levin and Lyddy get this result past peer review in a mainstream science journal.
helvick
"Flatness" and "Blueness" don't seem very compelling indicators of liquid water given the environment we were talking about.As centsworth_II pointed out if there had been such significant amounts of surface water in that general environment (or more accurately surface ice because that encounter happened in late autumn\winter time at temperatures below -50C ) then surely it would have been very, very obvious in the various Mini-TES\Mossbauer\APXS data that was taken.

Count me as being very solidly on board the good ship "Highly Sceptical".
Gray
I too have a strong cant towards the skeptical.

Wasn't the location of these images on a slope? If so, shouldn't the purported liquid be flowing?

It seems to me that the image accompanying the article is part grayscale and part colorized. Does it look that way to anyone else?
3488
..Deleted.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (3488 @ Jun 8 2007, 08:18 AM) *
Remember New Scientist, although on the whole a quality publication, has to pander to advertisers, hence from time to time, sensationalist items to satisfy its commercial obligations.

Remember also that the article's author, David Chandler, has, no pun intended, been carrying water for Levin pere et al. all the way back to Chandler's stint as a reporter at the Boston Globe.
fredk
Count me in as extremely sceptical too. These results were presented to engineers, by the sound of it? You can argue all you like about flatness and smoothness, but if you claim that's enough evidence for pools of water then you're living in a vacuum sparser than Martian air.

Already there seem to be big contradictions: from the New Scientist article:
QUOTE
He says his analysis shows that there can be wind-free environments at certain times of day in certain protected locations. He thinks that could apply to these small depressions inside the sheltered bowl of Endurance crater, at midday in the Martian summer.
As others have said, all the outcrop we saw inside Endurance was on a slope!

I have vague memories of someone in these groups claiming those flat, smooth collections of sand/dust were formed by water. At the time I saw no visible evidence of water having been there, nevermind still being there!

Does someone recognize the image from the article? What sol is it from?
MarsIsImportant
QUOTE (3488 @ Jun 8 2007, 01:18 PM) *
I do not believe it.

The Martian atmosphere even at the Datum Line is no denser than the Earth's atmosphere is at 30 kilometres / 19 miles above sea level. dd.gif

Unless extremely cold & / or saline, water will just boil off.

Remember New Scientist, although on the whole a quality publication, has to pander to advertisers, hence from time to time, sensationalist items to satisfy its commercial obligations.

Yes the porported puddles were on a fairly steep slope, which even under 38% gravity will run downhill.

Andrew Brown.


To be fair, they are saying it must be saline water. But, I too am skeptical. I remember those images when they first came down. I thought it was possible evidence for PAST puddling for for a few minutes, then realized that such evidence would have quickly disappeared. My guess is that it is more likely extremely fine dust settled down to make the smooth surface. Such fine dust could easily "pool" in such cracks in a windless region of a crater. It's not water...just my opinion.
babakm
Here's the same image from slinted's site (Sol 290). I'm pretty sure it's looking up from Oppy towards the rim. What a bunch of hogwash.

EDIT: Context. It's on a huge slope. That article should be pulled.
Bill Harris
Horsepucky. The fine, mobile blue dust (which I informally term 'hematite dust') does tend to flow in channels and pool as flat, featureless areas, but it ain't hardly a liquid.

--Bill
AlexBlackwell
I like this little gem at the end of the article:

QUOTE
Although the rover is now miles away from this site, Levin proposes a simple test that would prove the presence of liquid if similar features are found: use the rover's drill on the surface of the flat area. If it is ice, or any solid material, the drill will leave unmistakable markings, but if it is liquid there should be no trace of the drill's activity.

So, I guess Opportunity is to drive all the way back to Endurance and drill a RAT-hole in these features? Now that sounds like a worthwhile expenditure of resources and time to test a shaky hypothesis.

Frankly, methinks that Levin and Lyddy know this "simple test" isn't anywhere near feasible; therefore, their claims will remain "unresolved" and hence, "viable."
lyford
This appears to be the same area that my Pachinko Machine Theory Of Sand Deposition addressed in an earlier thread. smile.gif

In this pic, you can sort of make out the sand grains as they tumble into "puddles".

I call "no way."
fredk
Thanks, babakm, for IDing the location. Pools of water on the slopes of Burns Cliff! It looks like they forgot to compensate for the tilt angle of the rover itself! laugh.gif

Thanks too, lyford, for digging up that old thread. I knew we'd been through this before.

AlexBlackwell, it seems a simple calculation of the slope would resolve this; I can't see it remaining "viable".

This talk was given three months ago. Did the author of the New Scientist article think to ask any of the people who actually studied Endurance?! This is so ludicrous that I can't help but smell an agenda. mad.gif
brellis
I guess it was a mirage blink.gif
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (fredk @ Jun 8 2007, 09:10 AM) *
AlexBlackwell, it seems a simple calculation of the slope would resolve this; I can't see it remaining "viable".

You'd be surprised at the theories, no matter how untenable, that remain "viable" in the absence of a direct test.
lyford
Please nobody mention string theory at this point. biggrin.gif

(oops, i guess i just did.)
djellison
"on a Martian crater floor"

A complete fabrication!! - it's on a massively steep slope. They claim that the features are both very very flat, but also without features to identify topography. That's self contradictory. We're seen these features all over the place - we've driven over them, it's an accumulation of dust.

I wonder why it's going in the IEEE journal - an engineering journal - instead of, say, Science or Nature? Perhaps because they would laugh at it.

Doug
ngunn
And another thing too. Why would water on Mars look blue, when the sky isn't?
babakm
QUOTE (ngunn @ Jun 8 2007, 08:32 PM) *
And another thing too. Why would water on Mars look blue, when the sky isn't?


I think one of the authors of the paper is the same guy who came up with the "blue sky" Viking images.
Ian R
I honestly thought this was an April Fools joke when I clicked on the link. I had to double-check the date of the article, just to make sure. huh.gif
ngunn
How long does it take for Martian water to evaporate on Unmanned Spaceflight.com? 6:11 to . . . let's say 7:31 UK time - 80 minutes. I'd say that shows we have a refreshingly clear atmosphere here.
bgarlick
QUOTE (ngunn @ Jun 8 2007, 01:50 PM) *
How long does it take for Martian water to evaporate on Unmanned Spaceflight.com? 6:11 to . . . let's say 7:31 UK time - 80 minutes. I'd say that shows we have a refreshingly clear atmosphere here.


It didn't evaporate, it sublimated! (very quickly I might add) :-)
stevo
When I suggested in another thread recently May 23, 2007, HiRISE release that a smooth (alright, flat) featureless surface might be liquid I thought it such an obvious joke I didn't even bother to put the smiley.

If only I'd known it was a publication instead ...



Oh, to avoid confusion: rolleyes.gif
OWW
I can't believe this is on a New Scientist website. It's something I would expect of an amateur pseudoscience conspiracy website run by Hoaxland. Really quite embarrassing. They should be ashamed of themselves for not checking a simple picture. blink.gif
ngunn
Simple alternative to peer review for the 'grey media' - post it here first and see what happens.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (OWW @ Jun 8 2007, 11:35 AM) *
I can't believe this is on a New Scientist website.

Why not? I've seen other items just as strange there.
alan
Someone should show Levin and Lyddy the panorama feature available in Mars Midnight Browser. It would cut down on the opportunities for embarrassment. tongue.gif
Anoolios
Jeez, I'm all for hearing about theories that go against prevailing views, but the way that "news" is presented is really irresponsible.
fredk
QUOTE (OWW @ Jun 8 2007, 09:35 PM) *
I can't believe this is on a New Scientist website. It's something I would expect of an amateur pseudoscience conspiracy website run by Hoaxland. Really quite embarrassing. They should be ashamed of themselves for not checking a simple picture. blink.gif
This has definitely dropped my opinion of New Scientist down a good solid notch. They've always had an inclination towards sensationalism, and are notorious for presenting new work without sufficient historical context, but this is something quite new in my experience.
nprev
To their credit (amazingly), the popular media in the US doesn't seem to have picked this up. Maybe Paris Hilton has a function in the Universe after all! smile.gif

EDIT: Mystery solved; one of the authors is the son of Gilbert Levin. rolleyes.gif
Jeff7
Blue???? That's a false color image! With the right filter combination, Mars could easily be called The Blue Planet.
ups
Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface
_____

I can't believe NS ran with this headline and false color image -- maybe ad revenue is down this month... huh.gif
helvick
QUOTE (babakm @ Jun 8 2007, 09:42 PM) *
I think one of the authors of the paper is the same guy who came up with the "blue sky" Viking images.

You're right. I would post a link to back up that claim but I can't find any site that has the details that isn't riddled with kooks and there's no way I'm posting a link here that might add to their search engine credibility.
djellison
What they've done is put the " " around the wrong word...it should be Mars rover "finds" puddles.

smile.gif

Doug
elakdawalla
It must be hitting the mainstream media somewhere -- my uncle (NOT a technogeek) just asked me about these "puddles on Mars." sad.gif

--Emily
alan
I haven't seen it in the MSM yet but it doing a google search I see it has turned up at Netscape.com, reddit.com and free republic. Someone has already debunked it at the free republic.
djellison
It's slap bang in the middle of the Burns Cliff panorama - I think that says everything really. Cliff.


Doug
CosmicRocker
I did a quick search today, to see how this silliness is spreading. It is really insane how this story has been echoed all over the internet. New Scientist simply copies news releases and announcements, apparently without any consideration of their merit, and now many other sites have copied their copy. Probably the most entertaining comments I found anywhere were at a different Mars forum.

I cannot understand how the authors of this study come to the conclusions they do, in spite of the obvious slope. The article claims that they used stereoscopic reconstructions in their "image analysis," claiming "The surfaces are so smooth that the computer could not find any surface details within those areas to match up between the two images." Actually, the surfaces have small ripples and local slopes.

They also claim "The imaging shows that the areas occupy the lowest parts of the terrain." Ok, so let's give the guys the benefit of a doubt and assume they were unaware that this location was on the inner wall of Endurance crater. Simply looking at a stereoscopic view one can easily see differences in elevation between these proposed "liquid" surfaces. I hate to write these guys off hastily, considering Levin works at Lockheed, on advanced image processing. You would assume they are good at what they do, but I don't think they did their homework.
Click to view attachment
fredk
Tom, the benefit of the doubt would say that they were engineers overly excited about their "advanced image processing" and applied it blindly without checking whether they were on a slope or not or by talking to anyone from the rover team.

As you said, that's almost certainly giving them way too much slack, and we seem to be left with only a patriarchal agenda as a viable explanation. Man, I'd love to know what Levin really thought here.

Nevertheless, I suggest we all write to New Scientist and tell them our thoughts on this. The site cannot be allowed to publish this rubish without any implications. For those who haven't already done this, there are "contact us" links on the webpage of the story from where you can send comments.
nprev
QUOTE (CosmicRocker @ Jun 9 2007, 12:29 PM) *
I hate to write these guys off hastily, considering Levin works at Lockheed, on advanced image processing.


Or, he was perhaps unduly influenced by his father...remember, Gilbert Levin's been claiming visual evidence for life on Mars since Viking.
mike
Yeah, New Scientist really dropped the ball on this one.. Too bad, I was hoping they might have some good evidence. The 'bluing' of the photograph is truly perplexing, unless Lockheed and/or NS knew their analysis was shaky and wanted to create something more convincing..
CosmicRocker
Mike: They didn't have to intentionally make that image blue. When you make color composites from the raw (uncalibrated) jpegs, they often are relatively overexposed on the blue filter, so the resulting colors are too blue. That's what the picture in NS looked like to me. The calibrated color images have been available for a long time, though. It makes one wonder why they didn't use the better images. Perhaps you are right, the blue tones are more reminiscent of water.

You guys may be right. Perhaps there is a patriarchal influence, but I hope there is a different explanation.

I too, would like to know what the authors were thinking. I noticed that the IEEE Aerospace conference is held in March of each year, so the 2007 papers are overdue. Surely we have a few double-Es around here who will have access to that paper when it is released, and who might be willing to share it. cool.gif

nb: I noticed that past IEEE Aerospace Conferences have presented papers on a rather amazing collection of subjects. This might be a conference worth keeping an eye on.
Stu
It's pretty easy to debunk this... just start off with a raw blue-biased 257 of the area... find a nearby rock imaged in 456'o-colour, and then use it as a baseline for balancing up the 257... do that and you get something a bit like this, not scientific, not accurate, but makes the cool clear, blue waters of Barsoom evaporate faster than Paris Hilton's hopes of another early release...

Click to view attachment
edstrick
"...Mystery solved; one of the authors is the son of Gilbert Levin."

Gilbert Levin
The Return of Gilbert Levin
Son of Gilbert Levin
Frankenstein and the Wolfman meet Gilbert Levin.
Abbot and Costello meet Gilbert Levin.

AAAAAUUUURRRRRGGGGHHHHHH....
DEChengst
QUOTE (edstrick @ Jun 10 2007, 11:06 AM) *
"Mystery solved; one of the authors is the son of Gilbert Levin."


Yep, I just spend some time Googling for the guy. Ron Levin is one of the guys claiming NASA is falsifying the colors in Mars images. Google for:

"ron levin" mars color

and you'll be in Hoagland territory before you can say "EDL".
Jeff7
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jun 9 2007, 09:26 AM) *
It must be hitting the mainstream media somewhere -- my uncle (NOT a technogeek) just asked me about these "puddles on Mars." sad.gif

--Emily

I just checked Google for "mars puddles." This article comes up quite a few times. This is most unfortunate.
I have a feeling that I might get one or two e-mails about this from a few select friends and relatives.
nprev
Oy vey. sad.gif Well, all we can do is hold Carl's proverbial candle in the dark as far in front of us as we can to illuminate and educate...this could get downright ugly in some contexts.

On a side note, I am astonished that Lockheed appears to be sanctioning this farce, albeit perhaps indirectly; shoots the credibility of this particular division to hell if for no other reason than that objective peer review of prepubs appears to be absent.
nprev
QUOTE (edstrick @ Jun 10 2007, 02:06 AM) *
"...Mystery solved; one of the authors is the son of Gilbert Levin."

Gilbert Levin
The Return of Gilbert Levin
Son of Gilbert Levin
Frankenstein and the Wolfman meet Gilbert Levin.
Abbot and Costello meet Gilbert Levin.

AAAAAUUUURRRRRGGGGHHHHHH....


biggrin.gif ...great list! Here's a few more:

GL LIVES!
Attack Of The Creeping GL!
Son Of The Son Of A Son Of A (delicacy forbids! ph34r.gif )
GL: A Retrospective
Lichen Brides Of Mars!

Gotta laugh or cry...I choose the former.
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