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Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Mars & Missions > Past and Future > Phoenix
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Steve G
Tricky to line up the two RAC images but here is my attempt.

Click to view attachment
MicroKid
Any idea what the long spiral looking object (lower left) next to the landing pad is?

Click to view attachment

Click to view attachment
Steve G
I was wondering that when I stitched the images together, and the first thing that came to mind was Khan's pet ear wig . . .

Click to view attachment

It is out of sight from the SOL 1 footpad image and nearly beneath the lander, but by the surrounding soil, it looks like it fell from the lander. The resoltion of the RAC is only 256 X 512 so we need to creep lower for a better look.
djellison
EGD had a go at this in the Sol 3+ thread, I'm kicking of an RAC lander-imaging thread with my own attemt.
djellison
If I had to guess what it was - I'd say something to do with...

-Biobarrier deployment
-SSI deployment
-Helium vent valve
-RA deployment
-Met deployment

If I had to pick one - Helium vent valve.



um3k
Sure looks like ice to me: http://fawkes3.lpl.arizona.edu/images.php?...1018&cID=26
bcory
QUOTE (um3k @ May 30 2008, 11:47 PM) *


Looks more like a ice hockey pond ! ohmy.gif

dvandorn
Could be ancient duricrust, buried under a more recent dust/soil layer.

Could be pavement-flattened rocks of the type we see in Meridiani, again underlying a more recent dust/soil layer.

No. What am I thinking?

It's ice. It just looks *obviously* like ice. Maybe not a perfect layer of water ice, but at the very least a good, solid permafrost layer.

Looks like we'll need to burr some of that out, doesn't it? Looks really, really hard to me.

BTW -- is there a danger of significant sublimation of exposed water ice at these pressures and temperatures? I'd hate to see the cleared permafrost layer under the lander sublimate out into a nice little Phoenix-gobbling sinkhole... huh.gif

-the other Doug
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (um3k @ May 30 2008, 07:47 PM) *


Holy cow, where's that swear jar?

This is the mission that keeps on giving.
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (dvandorn @ May 30 2008, 08:57 PM) *
BTW -- is there a danger of significant sublimation of exposed water ice at these pressures and temperatures? I'd hate to see the cleared permafrost layer under the lander sublimate out into a nice little Phoenix-gobbling sinkhole... huh.gif


Dang I was thinking that same thing just as I read your post.

Probably not, since the blanket of dust and sand that has been keeping it all in place for eons would soon be replaced. If the patches under the lander started to slump they would gather nearby sand and dust. It would be covered before any significant slumping reached as far as the foot pads - I suspect. But it's a darn interesting thought to ponder.
centsworth_II
QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ May 31 2008, 12:40 AM) *
But it's a darn interesting thought to ponder.

If that is exposed ice, what a time lapse movie that could make, watching its evolution over several months.

James Sorenson
OMFG Im gonna need that swear jar now rolleyes.gif.

It looks like the phoenix website was hacked.


EDIT: Now its back to normal, it said that it was hacked by vital.
djellison
The arm can't get to THAT Ice, the 'upper arm' is probably longer than the height from where the arm meets the deck to ground. But - you can see that where the dust blew away - it's everywhere. 5cm of soil, then ice. As they predicted (maybe smile.gif )

Doug
Marcel
QUOTE (dvandorn @ May 31 2008, 05:57 AM) *
BTW -- is there a danger of significant sublimation of exposed water ice at these pressures and temperatures? I'd hate to see the cleared permafrost layer under the lander sublimate out into a nice little Phoenix-gobbling sinkhole... huh.gif

-the other Doug


Could be a danger.

Another one. If it's ice: could the heat that the lander collects from sun radiation during daytime melt the ice under it's footpads ? ....slowly sinking in ? For rocks it doesn't seem to happen, the exposed surface of the whole lander (and the energy it collects) concentrates on quite small footpads though unsure.gif
djellison
Couple of RAC obs.
Doc
I dont think thats ice. Wouldnt we see signs of sublimation (smoke)
They ought to get a series of pictures to see the changes if its ice.
eeergo
I don't think smoke would be seen if it was ice: it's cold up there and sublimation wouldn't be too fast or spectacular... snow on Earth also sublimes and we don't see smoke coming out of it. Just my view, not necessarily correct, but I think so.
nprev
Wouldn't the ability of any 'smoke' to be seen from sublimation be a function of atmospheric relative humidity in a addition to pressure & temp?

Don't think that the met package measures humidity, but I'd be very surprised if the RH of the air was anything but extremely low, which IIRC means that the H2O molecules would disperse too rapidly to form visible vapor.
tasp
Visible 'plumage' from exposed ice would depend on local relative humidity, optical depth of the column you're looking through, mineral content of the ice itself (dissolved materials would effect freezing point of the material and the resulting rate of sublimation), wind speed, thermal input to the ice, sensitivity/noise ratio/dynamic range and compression of the camera, temperature of the atmosphere, shading from the vehicle, possibility of contaminants in the ice to form 'crustage' and probably several other factors it is too early in the morning for me to think of.

For those so inclined, you might want to consider an outcropping of dirty ice under Phoenix to be a cometary phenomena. A little more bang for the buck for the mission!



tasp
LOL.

See what happens when it takes me 10 minutes to compose a post first thing in the morning without coffee. I get pre-empted by nprev.

smile.gif


ustrax
blink.gif blink.gif blink.gif

If that is ice...that is GOLD!!!

The Heimdal image is great but this man...this is what we were looking for...

DIG! biggrin.gif
DDAVIS
'Visible 'plumage' from exposed ice would depend on...'

One important factor would be Sun angle. Presenting a chunk of previously buried Mars ice to the Sunlight with a camera fairly near the shadow of the sample could possibly reveal comet like plumage against the dark sky due to forward scattering, if it isn't windy.

Don
nprev
Just out of curiousity, with respect to the viewpoint of the "ice" image, which way did Phoenix come in from horizontally? Seem to remember that there was some horizonal motion just before touchdown.

Reason I ask is that the exposed area doesn't look like it's directly underneath a thruster set; could have my perspective all wrong, though. Also wondering if this stuff might be shallower then we think; haven't seen any significant 'dunes' of blown dust around Phoenix from the motors.
bcory
All I can say that it seems to me that whatever it is, the sun glare/reflection is highly indicative to me of ice.

And as a Canadian I know ice! laugh.gif
ilbasso
What's the size of those patches relative to the other polygons that we see on the surface? What's under the polygons on Earth's permafrost? Would we expect similar plates of ice?
scalbers
It was interesting at Friday's news conference how Ray Arvidson showed a similar image from Viking 1 (link below) very near the lander that was duricrust. He said he's still rooting for ice with Phoenix though the scientific method should be followed to find out. The crust does look more uniform in the Phoenix image that would support ice.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/phoenix/col...-v2_800-600.jpg

Steve
Marz
Assuming those plates are ice [w00t!!!], then are there any estimates for how old it is? Does this ice ever melt and reform annually, or has it been this frozen block since the last time the north pole was warm enough to melt ice (is that around 10 million years?).

I second the command to DIG!
MahFL
The Phoenix site seems down sad.gif
bcory
QUOTE (MahFL @ May 31 2008, 12:33 PM) *
The Phoenix site seems down sad.gif


It got hacked by a Russian last night
Decepticon
If this does to turn out to frozen water, will this end the Naysayers of there no water on Mars!?

vikingmars
smile.gif With alittle processing you can see more easily under the lander the "ice" extending towards the RAC with a soil pile in-between built-up by the engine exhausts. Enjoy ! smile.gif
Click to view attachment
centsworth_II
QUOTE (Decepticon @ May 31 2008, 12:46 PM) *
If this does to turn out to frozen water, will this end the Naysayers of there no water on Mars!?

I'm worried that if the ice is too solid and too near the surface all around, there may be no real digging possible.
scalbers
These under the lander images are really neat and something that we didn't have with Viking. Do all the cleared off spots correlate well with the locations of the descent engine nozzles? Will also be interesting to see different exposures to get more dynamic range in the bright areas. The high albedo really seems to support an ice hypothesis here. Is there any "shininess" here due to specular reflection? Hard to say. Even the shadowed areas look bright and one can interpret that as high albedo without specular reflection.

Steve
Decepticon
QUOTE
Do all the cleared off spots correlate well with the locations of the descent engine nozzles?


Now that's the question! Do the nozzles line up with the exposed area?

How do we test this theory?
nilstycho
Phoenix twitters "The picture shows a little piece of hardware on the ground, probably a pin. The team is checking it out. No worries. :-)" Later, she jokes "A loose screw on Mars can't stop me now."

As for ice, there's a JPL press release that calls the duricrust-looking stuff "possible ice". About the ice-looking struff, Phoenix twitters "Is this the mother lode of the polar region? Ice!?" Seems confident for a scientist...
teck
Is this a Philips screw?
James Sorenson
QUOTE (centsworth_II @ May 31 2008, 08:54 AM) *
I'm worried that if the ice is too solid and too near the surface all around, there may be no real digging possible.


This exposed ice has been exposed to the atmosphere and sun for almost a week now, and to me shows no significant sublimation. Why would that be?. I am also worryed that this could mean that digging mght be dificult, it sure looks VERY hard and possibly thick. Well its what we came here to find, and we found it without even trying, mars came to us it looks like, where is a broom when you need one smile.gif .
scalbers
At the cold ambient temperatures sublimation would be really slow, unless it is sped up by the action of sunlight. Even then how fast would it be?
ugordan
QUOTE (James Sorenson @ May 31 2008, 07:10 PM) *
Well its what we came here to find, and we found it without even trying, mars came to us it looks like, where is a broom when you need one smile.gif .

Yeah, who knew all we really needed was:

1 rocket engine
1 camera
1 UHF antenna

biggrin.gif
um3k
QUOTE (bcory @ May 31 2008, 11:40 AM) *
It got hacked by a Russian last night

Did someone neglect to inform him that the cold war has been over for ~20 years?
dot.dk
Remember there is the rasp on the backside of the scoop smile.gif
centsworth_II
QUOTE (dot.dk @ May 31 2008, 12:27 PM) *
Remember there is the rasp on the backside of the scoop smile.gif

To get a sample, not to dig.
eeergo
They were expecting the hard ground, remember they were talking about being able to dig in a soil as hard as concrete. See this answer in Twitter: "Yup, I can dig into frozen ground as hard as concrete. The scoop has special blades and a powered "rasp" to scrape ice. Cool!" It may be a bit more difficult, but no worries...
nilstycho
I wonder what would be the pros and cons of a heated filament or blade on the cutting edge of the scoop. Delicate, expensive, complicated? Would it require more or less power to dig through ice? How about a pellet of plutonium embedded inside?
centsworth_II
QUOTE (eeergo @ May 31 2008, 12:44 PM) *
They were expecting the hard ground, remember they were talking about being able to dig in a soil as hard as concrete.

In one of the press briefings it was stated that they could dig in frozen soil, but not in ice. So if the permafrost is soil with frozen water in the spaces between grains, no problem. But if it is solid frozen water, no digging.
bcory
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/234067main_under-full.jpg

Seems they concur about the ice in the "ponds" image. smile.gif

"The Robotic Arm Camera on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander captured this image underneath the lander on the fifth Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Descent thrusters on the bottom of the lander are visible at the top of the image.

This view from the north side of the lander toward the southern leg shows smooth surfaces cleared from overlying soil by the rocket exhaust during landing. One exposed edge of the underlying material was seen in Sol 4 images, but the newer image reveals a greater extent of it. The abundance of excavated smooth and level surfaces adds evidence to a hypothesis that the underlying material is an ice table covered by a thin blanket of soil.

The bright-looking surface material in the center, where the image is partly overexposed may not be inherently brighter than the foreground material in shadow."

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/...s/20080531.html
OWW
Scary thought: It could be frozen pools of leaked/vented rocket fuel.... smile.gif
Cargo Cult
QUOTE (centsworth_II @ May 31 2008, 06:51 PM) *
In one of the press briefings it was stated that they could dig in frozen soil, but not in ice. So if the permafrost is soil with frozen water in the spaces between grains, no problem. But if it is solid frozen water, no digging.

If does prove to be the latter, the next trip should carry a modified ice corer. Just imagine the layers of Martian history!


centsworth_II
QUOTE (Cargo Cult @ May 31 2008, 02:37 PM) *
Just imagine the layers of Martian history!

That's what I've been imagining. I hope it's not stymied by a layer of solid ice. I won't worry too much right now though... no use in that.
climber
Holy cow, it's ICE : http://planetary.org/blog
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