The baffling case of the tiny craters on the Meridiani dunes

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centsworth_II

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Could the purported fossil drop stone seen by Spirit at Home Plate be a Meridiani-like mini crater in cross section? Maybe the only difference between this example at Home Plate and the mini craters Opportunity has been seeing is a few hundred million years. Also the source of the drop stone (volcanic, inpact ejecta, or meteor fragment) could be different.<br /> <br />The below link shows the area in context in the Gibson Panarama. Look at the bottom where the image extends below the rest of the panarama.<br />http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~jcanvin/mer/index.html#A0748 <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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centsworth_II

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In the latest rover update with Jim Bell, brief mention is made of the micro craters in Meridiani. Bell calls them an "enigma" and says the rovers aren't equipped to investigate any further than taking pictures of them, which they will continue to do. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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cosmictalk

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So, I say we need to send one of the Mars rovers over to one of those so-called micro-craters and disturb it a bit. I'll bet it squirts. <br /><br /><font color="blue"> LOL! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /></font>
 
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cosmictalk

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Mars has the largest volcano, right? <br /> <br /><br />Could these possibly be formed by steam or very strong vents of air that hit the surface and travel different than here on earth because of the atmosphere?
 
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silylene old

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Paul, that microcrater might be a minor subsidence. Hard to be sure. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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cosmictalk

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I'm trying to checkout the hydrogen levels in that area.<br /><br />That would give us an idea if its possibly volcanic, right?
 
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bonzelite

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<font color="yellow"><br />Mars is like one big beach !</font><br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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jatslo

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When it rains, the droplets create micro-craters on most beaches, while at the same time, so do sand flies, as they jump from dune to dune. Is it any coincidence that life evolved from these very processes?<br /><br />--------------------<br />"Jumping Flaming Jack-O-Lanterns"
 
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bonzelite

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^^^hey, dude! welcome back! <br /><br />hermit crabs burrow in the sands, as well <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />the craters, hmmm. that's a tough one. what if they are burrows? that'd be insane. we need 24/7 video surveillance. that would solve so many mysteries. and the technology is off-the-shelf. <br /><br />the best i can come up with using "traditional" science is that they're either sinkholes, or they're secondary impacts from a larger one-off event. had we data showing they were absent one day, and there the next, like the gully formations, that may key us in to mechanical processes that can happen <i>right now and today, not fossilized events frozen in time.</i><br /><br />
 
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silylene old

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Agreed. Maybe it isn't an impact crater. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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jatslo

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Could be that life as we know it resembles nothing on Mars, and if we saw life standing right in front of our eyes, we'd be blind to its oddity. However, traps, borrows, tracks, etc... are universal languages. What does Mars look like in the dark, because some invisible creatures emit luminescence light? For example, the cuttlefish, and various other mollusks can camouflage.<br /><br />Life is making the micro-craters.
 
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CalliArcale

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It's entirely possible (and in my opinion probable) that Martian life, if it exists, will be totally unlike Earth life. However, this is not the thread to discuss it. Please try to stay on subject, folks. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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antlions exactly! LOL <br /><br />24/7 video live feeds placed in thousands of locales on mars would solve lots of these riddles nearly overnight. at least in a few months. and the technology is off-the-shelf. just get an armada of microlanders and micro-tv's going. and a huge uplink/downlink system in orbit. then, bam-o, we've solved many of our riddles in one blow. just sit back and watch it. our debates would shift from what they are now to discussions of <i>actual movements observed.</i> a totally new paradigm.
 
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jatslo

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I am *TALKING* about micro-craters, and the fact that they might be signatures for life-forms under the Martian sand, so what is the problem?
 
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jatslo

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With the Martian gravity, which more or less like walking on the bottom of the ocean with a specific weight count, a release of gas could, in fact, create micro-craters too. For example, if there were a rather large source of Methane (CH4) pooled under the surface of sand, for whatever reason, a sudden release could cause a micro-crater effect on Mars. You only need look at the depths of the Earth's oceans to see examples of this phenomena.
 
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jatslo

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Impact is less-likely, as in a rejected hypothesis. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Folks, I have viewed several samples of micro-craters presented in this thread, and impacts can be pretty much ruled out. It is more likely that this micro-crater phenomena is, in fact, implosive, as in sink hole, and/or explosive, as in escaping gases.<br /><br />[1] What is cause for implosion?<br /><br />[2] What is cause for explosion?<br /><br />... Because the craters that I have sampled are to symmetric, and some are at angles, which could possibly rule out sink holes, and escaping gases, so what does that leave us with, other than active biology?
 
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jatslo

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I guess an electrical discharge could create crater-like phenomenon, and that would account for the symmetry at odd angles, but I don't know where the current came from. Also I'm not sure why the depressions have not long since covered over.<br /><br />It is safe to say that a crater will get tagged by a dust devil at least once per year, and a dust devil should have no trouble filling in a small crater, so the craters are likely only one year old. The fact that both rovers are cleaned by dust devils once per year on average leads me to believe that micro-craters are also cleaned once per year.<br /><br />The "Dust Devils" will fill those craters; no doubt.
 
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bonzelite

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<font color="yellow">a release of gas could, in fact, create micro-craters too. For example, if there were a rather large source of Methane (CH4) pooled under the surface of sand, for whatever reason, a sudden release could cause a micro-crater effect on Mars. You only need look at the depths of the Earth's oceans to see examples of this phenomena.</font><br /><br />^^^this is one of the more interesting and convincing ideas. i'd investigate that one definitely.
 
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centsworth_II

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That does it. jatslo and bonzelite have gotten involved. This thread is officially TOAST!<img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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