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Unmanned > Mars & Missions > Mars
Hi, I spent a couple of days going over one of the HiRise images posted for lost spacecraft searches. ( I did it twice ).

Soviet Mars 3 lander search area.

When searching for manmade lost bits on the surface, you MUST use the full resolution image, you will see nothing if you use a browse image.

I use the IAS viewer at 1:1 resolution.

Anyway, near the top left, at pixels, 5215x2965,

I did send an email to the HiRise blog folks, and to the Planetary Society, I only did this yesterday, so have not heard anything back yet.

It is either a nice aeroshell, or a big round shiny rock.
Nothing else of interest was spotted in the image, there is only one image out of the entire landing ellipse, if it is an aeroshell, the other bits may be nearby out of frame.

It takes me about 6 to 8 hours to check each full resolution image, I have only looked at a couple of full size images, the others were in the MPL area, nothing spotted over there yet, so far.

Why does this stand out to me apart from some of the other bright spots on the image, this is the only one that has no blocky appearance, and I can see the back of it that is in shadow.

Any thoughts on this?

Kevin, VK3UKF.
Phil Stooke
The Mars 3 landing capsule was 1.2 m diameter, or about 5 HiRISE pixels across. This looks too big. Also, presumably the capsule opened its four 'petals' so it would have a more square or slightly star-shaped outline.

Nice try though! Certainly keep looking. But I don't think this could be right.

Hi Phil, I didn't say it could be the lander, I was looking for the lander, I mentioned it may be the aeroshell, and also, yes I was looking for a four leaf doovalacki/star shaped object, have a guess at how many little splat marks I magnified for a better look, hundreds. It was also pointed out to me elsewhere, and I should have realized myself, about the dust storm at the time, the chute and backshell, may be further away than I thought, out of frame, need more pics of this area.

The shadow appears cone shaped, I don't know if it is due to the shape of the object or sun angle.

Curious though, is 1.2m the diameter of capsule in petals folded or petals unfolded position? If 1.2m is folded, It's apparent diameter could nearly double in the unfolded position.
Although I think it would still be a lot smaller than any aeroshell or heat shield that helped get it there.

I think the Mars 3 lander must have opened its petals, otherwise it would not have attempted an image and sent it home.

I don't recall seeing folded and unfolded diameters mentioned anywhere, it would help.
I was thinking of making a little paper cut out model of Mars 3 lander, taking a pic, and reducing the resolution, to see what a four leaf lander like Luna 9 / Mars 3 looks like at hirise res. Image res was 25cm per pixel. I have a model of a viking lander, I'll use that to scale a Mars 3 paper cutout, then do a pic from overhead while they sit on some dirt. But have to find out the unfolded diameter to scale it.

Probably is a rock, but you have to show others and say, what's this?

I saw nothing else of note on that image, yes I will keep looking, plenty of MPL search pics to keep me occupied for a while. :-)
A white star shape on the surface.

First, so we can all see the target we are searching for up close.

Again, there is only a very slight possibility of it being Mars 3, but.

Object at,

This is actually the sort of thing I was first looking for, just found.
Phil Stooke
Hi - that's a nice shape. The next issue after shape is size. I suspect this is too big. The detached object just 'under' the big one is more like the right size.

As I think about it more... you could construct an interesting scenario here - the lander is propped up at a precarious angle on the side of the big rock, it starts to take a picture which shows, not the horizon but the near-vertical edge of the boulder (that infamous photo is said to be vertical, not horizontal in orientation). Then the radio transmission is cut off by the orbiter being eclipsed by the boulder and/or the lander tumbles off its perch and the mission ends.

For others looking for this object - the pixel coordinates given above are from the un-map-projected version. It's south-up. If you use the map-projected version, north-up, it's at pixels 22614, 60110.

It's tougher than I thought Phil, this was the third going over of the same image.

I suspect you are corrct about the size, if it was maybe half to 3/4 of this, I'd be nearly dancing.
Phil Stooke
Yes, it's very tough!

Too tough for me, Phil. Life is too short. sad.gif

I might suggest that this is a good candidate problem for an "autoscan" algorhythm system that selects potentially important white spots of appropriate size, shape, and shadowing, crops them and flashes them to a human observer for further consideration.
You can also train pigeons to do such visual scanning; they work for chickenfeed! cool.gif
Phil Stooke
I would too, if anyone has a good job for me...

QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ May 29 2009, 03:48 PM) *
I would too, if anyone has a good job for me...


I'm glad to see that others are really looking for these things! I thought I was going to go blind looking for MPL. Still haven't found it. But there are new search images coming down as we speak. Also for the Beagle search area.

Keep looking! ;oD

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