APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

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APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:06 am

Image Unusual Spheres on Mars

Explanation: Why are these strange little spheres on Mars? The robotic rover Opportunity chanced across these unusually shaped beads earlier this month while exploring a place named Kirkwood near the rim of Mars' Endeavour Crater. The above image taken by Opportunity's Microscopic Imager shows that some ground near the rover is filled with these unusual spheres, each spanning only about 3 millimeters. At first glance, the sometimes-fractured balls appear similar to the small rocks dubbed blueberries seen by Opportunity eight years ago, but these spheres are densely compacted and have little iron content. Although it is thought that these orbs formed naturally, which natural processes formed them remain unknown. Opportunity, an older sibling to the recently deployed Curiosity rover, will continue to study these spheres with the hope that they will provide a new clue to the ancient history of the surface of the red planet.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by bystander » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:13 am

Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by ta152h0 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:33 am

mention iron and my thoughts point to seeing the result of vaporised asteroid material after cooling down enough to solidify into spherical objects.....or not !
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by bryan leveritt » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:46 am

This is simple the spheres are formed as ejecta, the molten material from a meteorite impact solidifies as it falls back to the surface. The way shot gun pellets are made is running molten lead through like a skillet with holes in it. The lead is dropped down a tall structure like a smoke stack and the round spheres are solid by the time the reach the water at the bottom. This is how the perfect spheres are produced
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by dkp » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:18 am

Someone, I suppose me, has to suggest they look like a raft of frog eggs. Not that I think we've dropped any frogs on Mars. I'm interested in the responses - non biological, so far, and yet the entire enterprise of this robot is the search for life in this crater.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:20 am

ta152h0 wrote:mention iron and my thoughts point to seeing the result of vaporised asteroid material after cooling down enough to solidify into spherical objects.....or not !
Possible, but the high uniformity of spherule sizes sort of argues against that. If these were produced by an impact, they should be glass. I don't know if the analysis tools available can make that determination.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by paul_adams777 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:41 am

Does anyone have any explanations for the two oddball items near the top-centre in this image?

First, there is a fractured ball that has lines crossing it, top-left to bottom right. If this was a photo from on earth, I would have immediately concluded that it was part of a spider's web. I can't see anything like it anywhere else in this picture.

Second, just to the right of that fractured ball, there is an area that looks like it is very light-coloured, and possibly spiky. My first thought was compression noise, possibly due to saturation, but I can't figure out why this specific area would be so different to the surrounding.

Any thoughts?

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by cheggers » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:36 am

fascinating… they appear to be cyanobacteria, specifically Nostoc pruniforme.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by peterww1 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:04 am

I thought they looked more like tubes than balls, not that this makes explanations easier.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by tannaberton » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:52 am

Electrical discharge. You can make them with a simple arc-welder.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by nstahl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:53 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:mention iron and my thoughts point to seeing the result of vaporised asteroid material after cooling down enough to solidify into spherical objects.....or not !
Possible, but the high uniformity of spherule sizes sort of argues against that. If these were produced by an impact, they should be glass. I don't know if the analysis tools available can make that determination.
They're not that uniform in size. But they've surely been eroded by the sandstorms; who knows what size they were. I wonder if Opportunity has enough juice left in its analysis instrument(s) to determine what they're made of.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by neufer » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:58 am

The heartbreak of psoriasis!
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Case » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:27 am

To me, it looks like
Image

????

Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by ???? » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:56 am

Another question from NASA.

One day I will come to this webpage and there will
be an actual answer to why.

:roll:

ralph

Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by ralph » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:41 am

If we were to find alien fossils on Mars, this is just what they would look like.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:26 pm

To me they look like mud bubbles; with some of them popped! :? :)
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by FloridaMike » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:35 pm

bryan leveritt wrote:This is simple ...
:lol2:
Certainty is an emotion. So follow your spindle neurons.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Spoonsize » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:52 pm

looks like dried concrete bubbles.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by gmPhil » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:30 pm

Although it is thought that these orbs formed naturally
I'm still trying to figure out what alternatives might be....

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:00 pm

gmPhil wrote:
Although it is thought that these orbs formed naturally
I'm still trying to figure out what alternatives might be....
Obviously, it would be spherules that formed unnaturally!
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:04 pm

my_favorite_martian.jpg
ralph wrote:If we were to find alien fossils on Mars, this is just what they would look like.
I don't think so. If the orbs were fossils, each would show the stubs of two little antennas.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Sahuaripa » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:54 pm

Hello everyone, first time here! I've been watching APOD for three or four years now.
I just wanted to share my opinion on these spheres.
To me, they look like bursting bubbles, well they did burst at some point. I can even see some sort of a darker color around one of the bursted spheres at the bottom center.... like if some liquid splashed out.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by dkary » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:02 pm

The first thing I thought when I saw these wast raincasts. Raindrops leave indentations in mud. When the mud dries, later sediment fills in the indentations. Still later overturning and erosion removes the old mud layer leaving the casts.
Of course, this requires a whole sequence of events that may or may not actually be plausible, but if that's what it is there could be a hell of a lot of the planet's history in these things.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by Boomer12k » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:09 pm

They are found near a crater...something that generated allot of heat....could be bubbles from that heat....anyone up for Pancakes?

http://www.popsci.com/technology/articl ... -limelight

I am going with impact artifact....


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Re: APOD: Unusual Spheres on Mars (2012 Sep 25)

Post by thongar » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:24 pm

I actually agree with the impact possibility. Several reasons:

1. Impact on silicate material. This stuff will liquify and splash with an impact droplets formed in the air would form spheres (or tiny sphereicals?) the out side solidifying first.
2. The rain of these sphereicals would would compact down into the resulting evidence. Unlike the Blueberries which were formed in their matrix material these Greyberries (I know it's a B&W picture) Were airborn and came raining down.
3. From the thickness of the layer one might conjecture the mass of the impactor ( I doubt its the big one but there might be a small crater near and iff there is a possibility of traking the layeron emight find the focus of the circle.

Then again they remind me of Malted Milk Balls, if you've eaten one you'll know what i mean.

We now have more incentive to go :-)

Thongar