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Don J
2013-Jul-16, 07:29 PM
Possible organosedimentary structure on Mars
Published in 2009 by
International Journal of Astrobiology 8 (4) : 267–280 (2009) Printed in the United Kingdom doi:10.1017/S1473550409990152 - © Cambridge University Press 2009 267
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm
Abstract


Abstract - This study, using the Microscopic Imager (MI) of NASA Rover Exploration Mission’s (REM) ‘Opportunity’, aims to explain the origin of laminated sediments lying at Meridiani Planum of Mars, and of the strange spherules, known as blueberries, about which several hypotheses have been formulated. To this purpose, images of the sedimentary textures of layers and fragments captured by REM have been analysed; sediments that NASA has already established as ‘pertinent to water presence’. Our study shows that such laminated sediments and the spherules they contain could be organosedimentary structures, probably produced by microorganisms. The laminated structures are characterized by a sequence of a thin pair of layers, which have the features of skeletal/agglutinated laminae and whose basic constituents are made by a partition of septa and vacuoles radially arranged around a central one. The growth of these supposed organosedimentary masses is based on the ‘built flexibility’ of such a basal element; it may be a coalescing microfossil formed by progressive film accretion (calcimicrobe), in a variety of geometrical gross forms, such as a repeated couplet sequence of laminae or domal mass and large composite polycentric spherule, both in elevation. The acquired structural and textural data seem to be consistent with the existence of life on Mars and could explain an origin of sediments at Meridiani Planum similar to that of terrestrial stromatolites. The Martian deposits, probably produced by cyanobacterial activity, and the embedded blueberries could represent a recurrent and multiform product of colonies with sheath forms, resembling in shape those of the fossil genus Archaeosphaeroides (stromatolites of Fig Tree, South Africa).

Received 11 June 2009, accepted 24 June 2009, first published online 28 August 2009 Key words: blueberries, calcimicrobes, cyanobacteria, life, Mars, stromatolites.

Details and images.
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm

Don J
2013-Jul-16, 07:39 PM
In the paper it is mention of
Stromatolites of Fig Tree, South Africa
Here a paper about that.
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdf

Other sources
http://www.google.ca/search?q=stromatolites+of+Fig+Tree%2C+South+Africa&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a

Selfsim
2013-Jul-17, 11:06 PM
Pareidolia!

Selfsim
2013-Jul-18, 01:24 AM
In the paper it is mention of
Stromatolites of Fig Tree, South Africa
Here a paper about that.
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdfThe findings in this paper have been hotly debated since it was published. Nowadays, much microscopic morphological evidence, (in isolation), is now regarded as being largely inadequate for establishing evidence of past life. In the case of the Marble Bar (WA) evidence, this is specifically why they've more recently shifted to the pursuit of stromatolite investigations in the same general geological area.

Evidence of life beyond the 3.5Gya timeframe is still regarded as 'sketchy'.

Unless it was blatantly obvious, I'd assume any morphological evidence from Mars photographs would be regarded the same way (perhaps unfortunately).

Don J
2013-Jul-18, 03:44 AM
Pareidolia!
I have selected that study because it correspond to your own criteria described in the other post.
I doubt that Pareidolia was the basis of the paper made by the very serious International Journal of Astrobiology of © Cambridge University Press
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm




So you are assuming that it started in oceans/lakes? If so, there are currents in oceans and circulation in lakes which might spread it. There is evidence of free flowing liquid water in the areas currently being examined by Curiosity (and Opportunity, I believe?) .. I would think both would be in just the right places to observe evidence of the remnants of past life. The type of life is presumed to be microbial. Microbial extremophiles leave behind structural evidence like stomatolites (like in Shark Bay, WA), and visibly coloured layers atypical of the immediately surrounding sediment layers in sedimentary rock cross-sections .. (even when they're no longer living).

Don J
2013-Jul-18, 03:50 AM
Originally Posted by Don J View Post
In the paper it is mention of
Stromatolites of Fig Tree, South Africa
Here a paper about that.
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdf

The findings in this paper have been hotly debated since it was published. Nowadays, much microscopic morphological evidence, (in isolation), is now regarded as being largely inadequate for establishing evidence of past life. In the case of the Marble Bar (WA) evidence, this is specifically why they've more recently shifted to the pursuit of stromatolite investigations in the same general geological area.

That is exactly what the study about the Possible organosedimentary structures on Mars have done.Nothing is taken (in isolation).

http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm

Selfsim
2013-Jul-18, 04:20 AM
That is exactly what the study about the Possible organosedimentary structures on Mars have done.Nothing is taken (in isolation).

http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htmI haven't had a chance to thoroughly read through your links, yet .. I have actually discussed these kinds of matters with those presently investigating stromatolites. Many avenues of investigation are presently underway .. nothing is assumed (by them). Their approach is one of skepticism, evidence accumulation, and taking note of peculiarities from surrounding geological environments. They mentioned that their laboratories are capable of executing experiments which outstrip any Mars rover, interestingly.
More later (my abilities to upload are extremely limited at present).

Selfsim
2013-Jul-18, 05:25 AM
I concur that the Schopf etal paper on Stromatolites raises a very interesting question:
It seems on Earth, the conclusion of the presence past life can be made by "true consensus" (as is evidenced by the following appeal to it) ...

Evidence for the existence of life during the Archean is firm. Consistent with the findings presented in other papers of this special issue of Precambrian Research, the data presented here – from diverse Archean stromatolite- bearing (Figs. 1 and 2) and microfossiliferous deposits (Figs. 3 through 5) – show that life was not only extant but was flourishing in the Archean. Further, new find- ings presented here support the biological interpretation of the microbe-like microstructures of the Apex chert, among the oldest putative fossils known. Taken together, these data show why it is that most workers in the field of Precambrian paleobiology are of the view that the “true consensus for life’s existence” dates from ≥ 3500 Ma.I wonder whether or not the same conclusions could be reached if the same types of lines of evidence came together in support of a Martian sample?

In other words, is the fact that Earth's abundant evidence of past life 'permits' some degree of relaxation of classical scientific skepticism, allowing for such consensus conclusions? (I don't think so(IMO). Martian 'life' conclusions call for extraordinary evidence, so its kinda behind the eight ball to start with).

Don J
2013-Jul-18, 05:37 AM
I haven't had a chance to thoroughly read through your links, yet .. I have actually discussed these kinds of matters with those presently investigating stromatolites. Many avenues of investigation are presently underway .. nothing is assumed (by them). Their approach is one of skepticism, evidence accumulation, and taking note of peculiarities from surrounding geological environments. They mentioned that their laboratories are capable of executing experiments which outstrip any Mars rover, interestingly.
More later (my abilities to upload are extremely limited at present).
Fair enough!
You may add this one:which is all about the Fig Tree Area Stromatolite, South Africa and the Towers formation of Australia. Age: About 3.5 Ga
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf
That is part of a workshop on the issue of Martian meteorites and analysis of future Martian samples return... Discussion section "An understanding of the complex processes by which microbes and their associated products are mineralized and preserved... ie(distinctive morphologic and chemical identity) will be important in analyzing additional Mars meteorites and returned samples from Mars"....

Only 2 pages
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf

Selfsim
2013-Jul-18, 09:02 PM
Fair enough!
You may add this one:which is all about the Fig Tree Area Stromatolite, South Africa and the Towers formation of Australia Age: About 3.5 Ga
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf
That is part of a workshop on the issue of Martian meteorites and analysis of future Martian samples return... Discussion section "An understanding of the complex processes by which microbes and their associated products are mineralized and preserved... ie(distinctive morphologic and chemical identity) and will be important in analyzing other Mars meteorites and returned samples from Mars"...... and the process they seem to be talking about ...

We interpret all of the carbon and iron- rich features shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3 as biogenic remains of bacterial colonies, individual cells, and biofilms that have been mineralized by replacement with iron carbonate and possibly other iron-bearing minerals.Has there been any evidence of iron carbonate found in Martian rock samples yet? (Can't remember .. the Klein and Cumberland would be the best so far, methinks). (I would think so ..)

(Aside: The idea of life being older than 3.5Gy is also quite contentious. They are beginning to find evidence of surface oxygen > 3.5Gya too, apparently).

Don J
2013-Jul-18, 11:07 PM
.. and the process they seem to be talking about ...
Has there been any evidence of iron carbonate found in Martian rock samples yet?
.
Yep! found by the Spirit rover.
Paper
Identification of Carbonate-Rich Outcrops on Mars by the Spirit Rover
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5990/421.abstract
Abstract


Decades of speculation about a warmer, wetter Mars climate in the planet’s first billion years postulate a denser CO2-rich atmosphere than at present. Such an atmosphere should have led to the formation of outcrops rich in carbonate minerals, for which evidence has been sparse. Using the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, we have now identified outcrops rich in magnesium-iron carbonate (16 to 34 weight percent) in the Columbia Hills of Gusev crater. Its composition approximates the average composition of the carbonate globules in martian meteorite ALH 84001. The Gusev carbonate probably precipitated from carbonate-bearing solutions under hydrothermal conditions at near-neutral pH in association with volcanic activity during the Noachian era.



Discussion about the finding.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2010/2540.html



Comanche outcrop as seen by Spirit
The outcrop of rock named "Comanche" by Spirit's science team turns out to be composed, in part, of an iron-magnesium carbonate, the first massive outcrop of carbonate rock discovered on the surface of Mars.
.....
According to the press release on this study, Dick Morris "suspected iron-bearing carbonate at Comanche years ago from inspection of the rock with Spirit's Moessbauer Spectrometer, which provides information about iron-containing minerals. Confirming evidence from other instruments emerged slowly. The instrument with the best capability for detecting carbonates, the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer,

Selfsim
2013-Jul-20, 05:31 AM
Hmm .. as I mentioned, the Schopf paper has been disputed quite vigorously by Martin Brasier. He Published several critical replies, most recently in a study in 2006 called:
A fresh look at the fossil evidence for early Archaean cellular life (http://physwww.mcmaster.ca/~higgsp/3D03/BrasierArchaeanFossils.pdf)

The previous view that the co-occurrence of biology-like morphology and carbonaceous chemistry in ancient, microfossil-like objects is a presumptive indicator of biogenicity is not enough. As with the famous Martian microfossils, we need to ask not ‘what do these structures remind us of ?’, but ‘what are these structures?’ Earth’s oldest putative ‘microfossil’ assemblages within 3.4–3.5 Gyr carbonaceous cherts, such as the Apex Chert, are likewise self-organizing structures that do not pass tests for biogenicity.Which is where my initial 'Pareidolia' comment was coming from.

The term 'blueberries' might fire up the imagination .. but it also leads along a path known to result in misinterpretation.

"Pareidolia" also succinctly sums up the entire problem associated with searching for more instances of our already well known version of life. The Viking biological experiments (including Levins' LR tests) also relied on the same flawed rationale.

If blueberries don't rear up and show clear, obvious signs of past life, then they might as well be declared as being a product of 'not life' .. after all, why not do this? .. … Better still: Why not declare their origins as being "unknown" (which is the present, consensus position anyway)? ..

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 07:11 AM
I am experiencing some problem with the quote function.
Selfsim wrote:
Hmm .. as I mentioned, the Schopf paper has been disputed quite vigorously by Martin Brasier. He Published several critical replies, most recently in a study in 2006 called:
A fresh look at the fossil evidence for early Archaean cellular life


The previous view that the co-occurrence of biology-like morphology and carbonaceous chemistry in ancient, microfossil-like objects is a presumptive indicator of biogenicity is not enough. As with the famous Martian microfossils, we need to ask not ‘what do these structures remind us of ?’, but ‘what are these structures?’ Earth’s oldest putative ‘microfossil’ assemblages within 3.4–3.5 Gyr carbonaceous cherts, such as the Apex Chert, are likewise self-organizing structures that do not pass tests for biogenicity.

Which is where my initial 'Pareidolia' comment was coming from.
-----------------------------
Is it the same Martin Brasier who have participated in this 2011 study?
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n10/abs/ngeo1238.html
Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia



Sulphur isotope data from early Archaean rocks suggest that microbes with metabolisms based on sulphur existed almost 3.5 billion years ago, leading to suggestions that the earliest microbial ecosystems were sulphur-based1, 2, 3, 4, 5. However, morphological evidence for these sulphur-metabolizing bacteria has been elusive. Here we report the presence of microstructures from the 3.4-billion-year-old Strelley Pool Formation in Western Australia that are associated with micrometre-sized pyrite crystals. The microstructures we identify exhibit indicators of biological affinity, including hollow cell lumens, carbonaceous cell walls enriched in nitrogen, taphonomic degradation, organization into chains and clusters, and δ13C values of −33 to −46‰ Vienna PeeDee Belemnite (VPDB). We therefore identify them as microfossils of spheroidal and ellipsoidal cells and tubular sheaths demonstrating the organization of multiple cells. The associated pyrite crystals have Δ33S values between −1.65 and +1.43‰ and δ34S values ranging from −12 to +6‰ Vienna Canyon Diablo Troilite (VCDT)5. We interpret the pyrite crystals as the metabolic by-products of these cells, which would have employed sulphate-reduction and sulphur-disproportionation pathways. These microfossils are about 200 million years older than previously described6 microfossils from Palaeoarchaean siliciclastic environments.

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 07:43 AM
Selfsim wrote:
Earth’s oldest putative ‘microfossil’ assemblages within 3.4–3.5 Gyr carbonaceous cherts, such as the Apex Chert, are likewise self-organizing structures that do not pass tests for biogenicity.
..........
Schopf paper is not limited to the Apex Chert type of structure (Cyanobacteria)
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdf

But it is true that these specific "look-alike" -Cyanobacteria structure- are not the product of fossilized Cyanobacteria.
http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3846/new-study-finds-apex-fossils-aren-acutet-life

Selfsim
2013-Jul-20, 07:51 AM
Is it the same Martin Brasier who have participated in this 2011 study?
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n10/abs/ngeo1238.html
Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western AustraliaLooks like it.
So? ...

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 07:58 AM
Looks like it.
So? ...
So he falsified his own critic of Schopf paper by proving that life existed 3.4–3.5 Gyr ago.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-20, 08:04 AM
But it is true that these specific "look-alike" -Cyanobacteria structure- are not the product of fossilized Cyanobacteria.
http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3846/new-study-finds-apex-fossils-aren-acutet-lifeThe last paragraph sums it all up, too ..
"If it is really this hard to find convincing evidence for life on early Earth when we know there is life on Earth now, then it becomes clear that we need to be extra cautious interpreting data collected on Mars," said paleobiogeochemist Alison Olcott Marshall at the University of Kansas, a co-author of the new study.

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 08:22 AM
The last paragraph sums it all up, too ..


"If it is really this hard to find convincing evidence for life on early Earth when we know there is life on Earth now, then it becomes clear that we need to be extra cautious interpreting data collected on Mars," said paleobiogeochemist Alison Olcott Marshall at the University of Kansas, a co-author of the new study.


That is why NASA have elaborated an Astrobiology Roadmap ...
https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/roadmap/

Which that one is part of:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf

Selfsim
2013-Jul-20, 08:26 AM
So he falsified his own critic of Schopf paper by proving that life existed 3.4–3.5 Gyr ago.Did you read the "Microfossils of sulphur metabolising cells (http://eps.mcgill.ca/~courses/c666/Module_2/Week3-Archean_Fossils_Sulfur_Metabolizing_Cells.pdf)" 2011 paper?

Biology-like morphology and behaviour can seldom completely exclude an origin from abiotic artefacts, because abiotic carbonaceous coatings of grain margins may mimic cellular morphology.


However, for the SPF microfossils, TEM mapping of ultrathin sections (Fig. 3) reveals carbonaceous walls set within micro-grains of quartz, with the carbon restricted to distinct domains of a curved, semi-continuous nature that match optical images of cell walls (Figs 1f, 3b). Moreover, the hollow cell interiors contain multiple micro-grains of quartz (Fig. 3a), but these are never coated with carbon. Notably, identical three-dimensional microfossil preservation is found in the 1,878Myr-old Gunflint Formation where biogenicity is universally accepted. A Gunflint coccoidal microfossil (Fig. 3c) shares several features with our microfossils: (1) a curved domain with semi-continuous carbon making up the microfossil wall; (2) blocky micro-quartz without carbon coatings comprising the interior of the hollow microfossil; (3) sub-micrometre quartz grains intermixed with carbon in themicrofossil wall domain
...
The biogenicity of the SPF microfossils is further strengthened by geochemical signals consistent with altered biological remains. Laser Raman, NanoSIMS and TEM of multiple examples of SPF microfossils all confirm a one-to-one correlation between carbonaceous chemistry and candidate microfossil wall ...[QUOTE]He goes on to elaborate on other test evidence ..

It appears he was only criticising the Schopf analysis method ... not the results. In the 2011 paper, it seems many more tests and other evidence formed the basis of the conclusions. (Not just morphology). This is the difference between good science and poor science ..

[QUOTE]For the first time in Archaean rocks, we find a direct association between cellular morphology and metabolic by-products (micrometre-sized pyrite), and between cellular morphology and potential electron donors (detrital pyrite) under dysaerobic conditions. Taken together, these joint occurrences provide strong evidence of a multicomponent sulphur-based bacterial ecosystem preserved within this new ~3,400Myr-old microfossil assemblage.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-20, 08:37 AM
That is why NASA have elaborated an Astrobiology Roadmap ...
https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/roadmap/ I doubt this is why NASA produced the Astrobiology Roadmap ..
They've updated the 2008 one recently too, I believe(?)

Let's hope its better than the 2008 one!

PS: Apologies for typo resulting in the quote from my last post, being a little unclear. This board software/server problem is getting to be way beyond a joke ..

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 11:02 PM
Selfsim wrote:


Hmm .. as I mentioned, the Schopf paper has been disputed quite vigorously by Martin Brasier. He Published several critical replies, most recently in a study in 2006 called:
http://physwww.mcmaster.ca/~higgsp/3D03/BrasierArchaeanFossils.pdf

The paper made by Martin Brasier was published in 2006 Schopf paper is dated 2007.So that is not the 2007 paper that Martin Brasier critics but older papers.
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdf
It seem that the 2007 Schopf paper was a reply to some critics made at the time about the existence of life in Archean samples.
The 2007 Schopf paper present new studies and new research methods including 3d mapping among other things.

Don J
2013-Jul-20, 11:32 PM
Did you read the "Microfossils of sulphur metabolising cells (http://eps.mcgill.ca/~courses/c666/Module_2/Week3-Archean_Fossils_Sulfur_Metabolizing_Cells.pdf)" 2011 paper?

Biology-like morphology and behaviour can seldom completely exclude an origin from abiotic artefacts,[b] because abiotic carbonaceous coatings of grain margins may mimic cellular morphology.


Because abiotic carbonaceous coatings of grain margins"may mimic" cellular morphology
Do they provide details why this occur only to Archean samples but not the other less older samples?
Based on that study microbial fossil were effectively present in Archean samples founds...
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf





For the first time in Archaean rocks, we find a direct association between cellular morphology and metabolic by-products (micrometre-sized pyrite), and between cellular morphology and potential electron donors (detrital pyrite) under dysaerobic conditions. Taken together, these joint occurrences provide strong evidence of a multicomponent sulphur-based bacterial ecosystem preserved within this new ~3,400Myr-old microfossil assemblage.

It appears he was only criticising the Schopf analysis method ... not the results. In the 2011 paper, it seems many more tests and other evidence formed the basis of the conclusions. (Not just morphology). This is the difference between good science and poor science ..

If you look carefully at the study I have linked above you will notice that the study is not limited to morphology study only.:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsmet98/pdf/7033.pdf

And if you look at Schopf 2007 paper you will notice also that the study is not limited to morphology study only there are lots of other factors taken together.
http://www.cornellcollege.edu/geology/courses/greenstein/paleo/schopf_07.pdf

The major difference is that the sample studied by Brasier and al. was estimated 200 millions years older and taken in another location.


within this new ~3,400Myr-old microfossil assemblage.

So the fact that Brasier and all founded a sulphur-based bacterial ecosystem does not invalidate the Schopf study.Only the Apex Fossils about Cyanobacteria tubular look-alike structures seem to have another explanation than fossilized Cyanobacteria .
http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3846/new-study-finds-apex-fossils-aren-acutet-life

Selfsim
2013-Jul-21, 12:35 AM
This thread is starting to become a little difficult to follow (my apologies for jumping around a bit).

Coming back to the martian spherules ("blueberries") (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_blueberries), it seems that Steve Squyres also doesn't particularly think they're of biogenic origin:

The spheres may have formed when molten rock was sprayed into the air by a volcano or a meteor impact. Or, they may be concretions, or accumulated material, formed by minerals coming out of solution as water diffused through rock, he said on a February 9 press conference.Looks like they've also found some similar spherules in the Apollo 12 soil samples collected on the Moon, too.

All looks to me very much like: "picture something similar you've seen before on Earth ... then draw inferences about it .. thereby establishing evidence for the existence of the same terrestrial thing ... on Mars". -In the absence of complete information, a story is developed ... even though we know even from Earth's paleofossil studies, (which can go on for decades), and copious specialised tests, such a methods can still lead to ambiguous results??

Just goes to show how primitive our abilities really are, when it comes to determining the existence of past life.

I guess the counter for this is developing multiple lines of evidence and then gaining consensus agreement. Unfortunately, that doesn't eliminate uncertainties which are much bigger when we're talking about something from a planet where there is no comparitive basis to fall back on, like there is on Earth. (Meaning the abundance of life on Earth can easily tip the scales of disbelief ... but it just won't work that way on another planet .. unless there are little green people (or something) running around ...

And I acknowledge that this thread started because of my pointing out that life leaves obvious remnants of its existence (up to 3.5Gya), which persist today, in spite of lots of weathering/erosion. The thing is that the past living things which leave specifically, spherules, behind on Earth are really only 500 ~ 600 million years old (when multicellularity was already abundant). I think the environment where Opportunity has found its spherules is much, much older and so too, is the time when they think there was more free flowing liquid water(?) So, if we follow the hypothesis, then we'd have multicellular life forms several bya on Mars(?) They should have adapted to any environmental changes following this era, (after all, life survived extinction events on Earth). Why didn't they adapt their environments subsequently (did they?) Why didn't their descendents develop other types of habitats for us to find? Why haven't the suspected organics, (which supposedly gave us LR postive results in recent times), not reaveled the obvious bioforming characteristics of life to us? There are so many questions arising from such a hypothesis, with no obvious evidence/answers presenting itself, it seems to me, the hypothesis is weakening the case for past life, rather than strengthening it ...

The 'gone undergound' story, and many others, seems to be more of an indicator of how good humans are at exploiting potential weaknesses in the scientific method, as opposed to exploiting its strengths?

Don J
2013-Jul-21, 04:53 AM
All looks to me very much like: "picture something similar you've seen before on Earth ... then draw inferences about it .. thereby establishing evidence for the existence of the same terrestrial thing ...
Wrong,
the study include also the analysis of samples prepared by MER’s circular Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT);
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm
[quote]
There are several images of regards polished surfaces, about 7 cm in diameter, prepared by MER’s circular Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT); this tool is able to grind about 5 mm of sediments near the midpoint, tapering toward its border. As regards to the methodological approach; first, various forms of microfossils have been individualized and classified, and the most-often occurring kinds identified. The structure of the laminated sediments and the nature of the spherical bodies embedded amongst the layers of the surface sediments have been successively analyzed, focusing both on polished surfaces and on exposed ones; structural and morphological relationships were used to assume their origin. In this context, fragments and eroded bodies were useful in understanding internal structure.

Don J
2013-Jul-21, 04:56 AM
Results - The study of a selected set of amplified MER MI images shows the presence of objects which have traits of prevalently microfossil-like artefacts resembling early life stages (Fig. 2). They include spatially structured chambers and septa somewhat spirally organized (Fig. 2(m), (n), (o), (p)), bodies showing a ‘from interior ’ growth Fig. 2(a), difficult to explain by physico-chemical processes, perfect holes (Fig. 2(u) bordered by collars resembling terrestrial foraminifera Fig. 2(c), sheathed forms Fig. 2(g), complex perfect shapes and texture (Fig. 2(h) and (r)), hyaline film and substances denoting occurrence of non-lithic matter (Fig. 2(g), (i), (o)), organized in structured forms including ring-tube (Fig. 2(e), (o) and (t)) and helicoidal/spiralled forms (Fig. 2(i), (j), (m), (n), (o), (p)), typical of probably both marine and terrestrial (Fig. 2, respectively (c) and (d)) environmental facies, and some of which remind us of our Early Cambrian biofacies (Fig. 2(f) and (g)). Many of these microfossils, especially those in Fig. 2(e), (g), (l), (n), (p), together with a large variety of bluish spherical bodies known as blueberries, are very common and widespread. The structural and morphological study of a large set of blueberries and related fragments show that they are different from each other, having a variety of forms and dimensions, and are not homogeneous in their internal structure (Figs 3 and 4). Spherule diameter is generally less than 5 mm while the smallest recognizable spherules are of about 0.1–0.3 mm and have a regularly spaced cell structure (examples are given in Figs 2, 3, 4 and 5), of which the laminated sediments are made. These spherules, in spite of their small dimensions, are clearly distinguishable by their shiny darker (almost metallic) appearance (Fig. 2(p); Fig. 3(n); Fig. 4(f) and (g) ; Fig. 5(d)). They are set over the central depression (Ri) of a whitish ring array (**), which are layered; or they are set over a cell of comparable dimension, of which the darkish layer is structured (Ri on BSr; Fig. 4(f) and (g); Fig. 5(i)) ; or they are set over a hyaline film (Fig. 3(a)).

These small and apparently uniform balls, having an almost perfect spheroidal and blackmetallic appearance, are different from the biggest spherules known as blueberries. In fact, blueberries show varied and irregular shape with a spheroidal tendency, and all represent composite structures made by **, Ri and BSr type elements (Figs 3 and 4). In particular, as regards the observed shape of the blueberries (Fig. 3), in places spherules are in close contact, and somewhere their shape is adapted along lines of contact (Fig. 3(b)) whereas in other cases they show conical or bi-conical forms (Fig. 3(c), (s) and (u)), peduncles (Fig. 3(c) and (i)), holes (Fig. 3(e)), a coalescing tendency and more complex forms which may result from a structured sheet rolling-up action and a multi-centre growth (Fig. 3(m–o)). The spherule surface shows the coalescence of elementary structures of Ri and ** type (some of them indicated by white arrows in Fig. 4), and in some cases by regular or irregular internal cell partitions (Fig. 4(c)). The variety of shapes and external structures (each one different) could be seen as the result of different constructions built from further smaller constituents (including the cell partition, whose dimensions are about 0.1 mm–0.3 mm). The ** structure is observed on the spherule surface, has a dimension of about 1 mm, and comprises a sheet of a radial array of 5–10 cells around a central cell, this last occupied by an Ri element. As seen in Fig. 2(l) the ** structures are coalescing, and as displayed in Fig. 4, they develop mutual interconnections between the Ri centres. The growth of the spherule thus represents the result of both a rolling-up of ** structure and a radial polycentric array (rarely mono-centric). The described structure is reflects an ideal, perfect spherule; but very often the observed anomalies, such as having one or more structural centres that are more developed than others, give a body asymmetry or indicate a new developing internal body (examples are given in Fig. 2(a)). A clear example of the rolling-up tendency can be seen in Fig. 3(v), where on the right side and on its apical sector there is evidence of a developed rolling sheet; the change of spherule diameter corresponding to a circular step (of about 0.2 mm) could be also interpreted as a consequence of such rolling sheet, whose occurrence one can directly observe in Fig. 3(g) and (q).

As consequence of small cell dimensions, such structures cannot be appreciated without optical amplifications. They become evident on eroded fragments, where we can see the internal differences between structural constituents. Obviously, on polished surfaces (by MER RAR), we cannot observe the spatial structure but only a labyrinthiform pattern. Observations on internal parts of the spherules confirm the previously described structure. Fig. 4 shows nodal points (Ri) radially interconnected by spokes (Fig. 4(a) and (b)). In Fig. 4(b) it is evident that radial spaces have different dimensions; in this way the spherules could enlarge asymmetrically, or develop a plurilobate body. Fig. 4(p) shows an evident anomaly and the presence of a spiral sector (white circles). In Fig. 4(c) a section of a spherule shows radial sub-partition, where cell and septa are interconnected having labyrinthiform patterns (not random, but still distributed around central points), separated by an elongate array both circular and linear (dot lines). This structure is very common and, as a consequence, the spherule fragments break along plane surfaces or flake along the rolling-up sheet (Fig. 4(b), (c) and (e) are examples of this breaking); conchoid fracturing is secondary. This structure is also evident when observing more ‘fresh’ bodies (Fig. 4(f), (g), (h)), where the structural elements Ri and ** are easily recognizable. As we have seen, spherules relate to the sediments which are structurally connected by peduncle or radial channels. Often, especially in the smaller bodies, they show radial mutual interconnection, a tract of the internal structure of the layers (Figs 4 and 5). Fig. 4 contains a set of pictures (Fig. 4(i), (l), (m), (o) and (p)) showing the relationship between spherules and surrounding sediments and proving their syngenetic origin (or a contemporary adjusting growth).

Selfsim
2013-Jul-21, 05:57 AM
Wrong,
the study include also the analysis of samples prepared by MER’s circular Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT);
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm
There are several images of regards polished surfaces, about 7 cm in diameter, prepared by MER’s circular Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT); this tool is able to grind about 5 mm of sediments near the midpoint, tapering toward its border. As regards to the methodological approach; first, various forms of microfossils have been individualized and classified, and the most-often occurring kinds identified. The structure of the laminated sediments and the nature of the spherical bodies embedded amongst the layers of the surface sediments have been successively analyzed, focusing both on polished surfaces and on exposed ones; structural and morphological relationships were used to assume their origin. In this context, fragments and eroded bodies were useful in understanding internal structure.Layers??? .. And yet Wiki says: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_blueberries)
On March 2, Opportunity mission scientists reported that they concluded a survey of the distribution of spherules in the bedrock. They found that the spherules spread out evenly and randomly inside the rocks, and not in layers. This supports the notion that they grew in place, since if their origin was related to volcanic or meteoric episodes one would expect layers of spherules as a "record in time" for each event. This observation was added to the list of evidence for liquid water being present at this rock site, where it is thought the spherules formed.Its also getting confusing as to whether they are talking about "blueberries" or "spherules" (are they the same thing?) There also seems to be a different 'classification' slipping in: 'polished' (deeper in bedrock) and 'unpolished' (surface).

So, it seems Rizzo etal sees layered deposition .. whereas Wiki (Squyres?) doesn't?

If they are randomly and evely distributed, why can't a prevailing wind play a role in this?

Or perhaps, I wonder what end effect a bubble of subliming CO2 or H2O has, if it surrounds a solidifying mineral in a molten mixture? Now where does that occur on Earth, eh?

Selfsim
2013-Jul-21, 06:06 AM
RE: Your Post #25:

Can you see any "helicoidal/spiralled forms" in any of the photos he mentions?
I can't ...

I suppose if such a distinctive shape was plainly visible, (at not too small scales), then I might get a bit more excited ... but I think his imagination's gone a bit 'mustang' there (ie: runaway).

Don J
2013-Jul-21, 06:32 AM
RE: Your Post #25:

Can you see any "helicoidal/spiralled forms" in any of the photos he mentions?
I can't ...

Figure2 (photo)2 -O -the smaller specimen show visibly a helicoidal/spiralled form.
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm


if such a distinctive shape was plainly visible, (at not too small scales), then I might get a bit more excited ... but I think his imagination's gone a bit 'mustang' there (ie: runaway).
I suppose that It may be possible to see those distinctive shape clearly with the original full scale MER MI images taken by Opportunity.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-21, 06:42 AM
Figure2 (photo)2 -O -the smaller specimen show visibly a helicoidal/spiralled form.Ya reckon?? I can't see it ...
The photo is very grainy ... they all look more like not-quite-fully-machined ball bearings to me. :)
The thing closest to the "J", in photo J, looks a bit like a spiral beach-shell .. but I'll admit that's stretching it a bit ..


I suppose that It may be possible to see those distinctive shape clearly with the original full scale photos taken by Opportunity.We need to dig 'em up, I think ..

Don J
2013-Jul-21, 11:10 PM
Ya reckon?? I can't see it ...
The photo is very grainy ... they all look more like not-quite-fully-machined ball bearings to me. :)
The thing closest to the "J", in photo J, looks a bit like a spiral beach-shell .. but I'll admit that's stretching it a bit ..


So, with a little attentive observation the helicoidal/spiralled shape is visible in the pictures listed as having those shapes.With the same visual effort you can probably be able to see it also in "i" and "o" -just Zoom in-
http://www.pianetamarte.net/Rizzo02.gif

Selfsim
2013-Jul-22, 12:15 AM
So, with a little attentive observation the helicoidal/spiralled shape is visible in the pictures listed as having those shapes.With the same visual effort you can probably be able to see it also in "i" and "o" -just Zoom in-
http://www.pianetamarte.net/Rizzo02.gifWell, let me tell ya … I went searching thru the NASA JPL Opportunity microscopic imaging archive yesterday and looked at just about every blueberry image set, and I didn't see a single helicoidal/spiralled structure anywhere in any of them (and there were a lot of blueberry photos to pour thru).

Image "o" looks to be one of the rough textured surface ones. They call these 'popcorn-like' blueberries. There are lots more in the archive. They have irregular surfaces and occasionally I can see patterns in them too, but that doesn't mean its a regular pattern which occurs beyond just a single isolated blueberry. (The image processing also plays a role in this, too .. I've seen other strange artefacts, which could most likely be explained by dropout and irregular exposure fixing problems, too). Some of them are split in half, and the ones that are, are all solid right thru to the core .. just like a split in half pebble you'd find on a pebbly beach. The tiny holes which appear in them are intriguing, but there are also such holes in earthly pebbles, too.

There's clearly a different process at play creating the spheroidal shapes .. otherwise they'd look more like beach pebbles .. flatter, and not quite so 'perfectly' spheroidal. I doubt that that flowing water created their shape also, (ie: Squyres' hypothesis). What role has frozen CO2 played in all this? Has anyone thought about that yet?

I am less convinced of biogenic origins, since perusing the archive. I am more of the view that Rizzo etal have a bad case of pareidolia! Curiosity has encountered conglomerates whose constituents have a slightly more familiar pebbly appearance .. perhaps its just a matter of time until it finds a genuine blueberry it can analyse (fingers crossed).

Don J
2013-Jul-22, 03:49 AM
Its also getting confusing as to whether they are talking about "blueberries" or "spherules" (are they the same thing?)
No.Here the description of the spherules
[quote]
Spherule diameter is generally less than 5 mm while the smallest recognizable spherules are of about 0.1–0.3 mm and have a regularly spaced cell structure (examples are given in Figs 2, 3, 4 and 5), of which the laminated sediments are made. These spherules, in spite of their small dimensions, are clearly distinguishable by their shiny darker (almost metallic) appearance (Fig. 2(p); Fig. 3(n); Fig. 4(f) and (g) ; Fig. 5(d)). They are set over the central depression (Ri) of a whitish ring array (**), which are layered; or they are set over a cell of comparable dimension, of which the darkish layer is structured (Ri on BSr; Fig. 4(f) and (g); Fig. 5(i)) ; or they are set over a hyaline film (Fig. 3(a)).

These small and apparently uniform balls, having an almost perfect spheroidal and blackmetallic appearance, are different from the biggest spherules known as blueberries.

In fact, blueberries show varied and irregular shape with a spheroidal tendency, and all represent composite structures made by **, Ri and BSr type elements (Figs 3 and 4). In particular, as regards the observed shape of the blueberries (Fig. 3), in places spherules are in close contact, and somewhere their shape is adapted along lines of contact (Fig. 3(b)) whereas in other cases they show conical or bi-conical forms (Fig. 3(c), (s) and (u)), peduncles (Fig. 3(c) and (i)), holes (Fig. 3(e)), a coalescing tendency and more complex forms which may result from a structured sheet rolling-up action and a multi-centre growth (Fig. 3(m–o)). The spherule surface shows the coalescence of elementary structures of Ri and ** type (some of them indicated by white arrows in Fig. 4), and in some cases by regular or irregular internal cell partitions (Fig. 4(c)). The variety of shapes and external structures (each one different) could be seen as the result of different constructions built from further smaller constituents (including the cell partition, whose dimensions are about 0.1 mm–0.3 mm). The ** structure is observed on the spherule surface, has a dimension of about 1 mm, and comprises a sheet of a radial array of 5–10 cells around a central cell, this last occupied by an Ri element. As seen in Fig. 2(l) the ** structures are coalescing, and as displayed in Fig. 4, they develop mutual interconnections between the Ri centres. The growth of the spherule thus represents the result of both a rolling-up of ** structure and a radial polycentric array (rarely mono-centric). The described structure is reflects an ideal, perfect spherule; but very often the observed anomalies, such as having one or more structural centres that are more developed than others, give a body asymmetry or indicate a new developing internal body (examples are given in Fig. 2(a)). A clear example of the rolling-up tendency can be seen in Fig. 3(v), where on the right side and on its apical sector there is evidence of a developed rolling sheet; the change of spherule diameter corresponding to a circular step (of about 0.2 mm) could be also interpreted as a consequence of such rolling sheet, whose occurrence one can directly observe in Fig. 3(g) and (q).

more details
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm

Don J
2013-Jul-22, 04:08 AM
Selfsim
Well, let me tell ya … I went searching thru the NASA JPL Opportunity microscopic imaging archive yesterday and looked at just about every blueberry image set, and I didn't see a single helicoidal/spiralled structure anywhere in any of them (and there were a lot of blueberry photos to pour thru).

You know what ,if you reread attentively the text specific to the helicoidal/spiralled shape, they name them "objects" -objects which have traits of prevalently microfossil-like artefacts resembling early life stages (Fig. 2). together with a large variety of bluish spherical bodies known as blueberries.So that is not the blueberries which have the helicoidal/spiralled shape.




Results - The study of a selected set of amplified MER MI images shows the presence of objects which have traits of prevalently microfossil-like artefacts resembling early life stages (Fig. 2). They include spatially structured chambers and septa somewhat spirally organized (Fig. 2(m), (n), (o), (p)), bodies showing a ‘from interior ’ growth Fig. 2(a), difficult to explain by physico-chemical processes, perfect holes (Fig. 2(u) bordered by collars resembling terrestrial foraminifera Fig. 2(c), sheathed forms Fig. 2(g), complex perfect shapes and texture (Fig. 2(h) and (r)), hyaline film and substances denoting occurrence of non-lithic matter (Fig. 2(g), (i), (o)), organized in structured forms including ring-tube (Fig. 2(e), (o) and (t)) and helicoidal/spiralled forms (Fig. 2(i), (j), (m), (n), (o), (p)), typical of probably both marine and terrestrial [b[(Fig. 2, respectively (c) and (d)) environmental facies, and some of which remind us of our Early Cambrian biofacies (Fig. 2(f) and (g)). Many of these microfossils, especially those in Fig. 2(e), (g), (l), (n), (p), together with a large variety of bluish spherical bodies known as blueberries, are very common and widespread. The structural and morphological study of a large set of blueberries and related fragments show that they are different from each other, having a variety of forms and dimensions, and are not homogeneous in their internal structure (Figs 3 and 4)

As usual see more details here:
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm

Selfsim
2013-Jul-22, 06:11 AM
Here's a recent update to the Rizzo Cantasano paper (http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MmSAI/82/PDF/348.pdf) .. this time reading filaments and bio-films into the images ...

Their conclusion? (You'll love this) ...

The inorganic sedimentary processes follow simple rules, whereas the structures we described denote complex products, congruent to the terrestrial biogenic environment: life has existed and is still alive on MarsInterestingly, there is only one non-Rizzo etal citation I can find in NASA/ADS.
It seems their two papers have received very little traction/support amongst their peers.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-22, 09:54 AM
Here ya go .. never mind blueberries .. check this out (http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html) .. go to: Science Cameras=>Microscopic Imager=>Sol 2931 (the first one on the third line is a goody).

A chicken thighbone! (Fossilised, of course)! :)

Selfsim
2013-Jul-22, 10:18 AM
It gets even better! (http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html)

Go to=> Science Cameras=>Microscopic Imager=>Sol 349
3rd image, top line.

Its a 'Snottite' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snottite)! :dance::p

... Even more surprisingly, it seems to have been predicted in Brian Cox's Wonder of the Solar System! What a legend! Sheer genius, I tell ya! :)

Don J
2013-Jul-23, 03:54 AM
Here ya go .. never mind blueberries .. check this out (http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html) .. go to: Science Cameras=>Microscopic Imager=>Sol 2931 (the first one on the third line is a goody).

A chicken thighbone! (Fossilised, of course)! :)
Maybe you can work at the preparation of a peer reviewed paper about your finding and try to publish it in the
International Journal of Astrobiology. Good luck!http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/smilies/smile.png

Don J
2013-Jul-23, 04:04 AM
Here's a recent update to the Rizzo Cantasano paper (http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MmSAI/82/PDF/348.pdf) .. this time reading filaments and bio-films into the images ...

Their conclusion? (You'll love this) ...

Thanks,I like this because these papers are peer reviewed -of course-.


Interestingly, there is only one non-Rizzo etal citation I can find in NASA/ADS.
It seems their two papers have received very little traction/support amongst their peers.
Can you find peer reviewed rebuttal papers against these 2 Rizzo etal papers?In which scientific journals or scientific publication these peer reviewed rebuttal (if any )were published?
If so how much citation of them can you find in NASA/ADS?

Selfsim
2013-Jul-23, 04:12 AM
Maybe you can work at the preparation of a peer reviewed paper about your finding and try to publish it in the
International Journal of Astrobiology. Good luck!:)-defaultWell, why not?
The International Journal of Astrobiology had a 2011 impact factor of 1.723. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Journal_of_Astrobiology) (Which is about as low as it gets, apparently).

Don J
2013-Jul-23, 04:23 AM
Well, why not?
The International Journal of Astrobiology had a 2011 impact factor of 1.723. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Journal_of_Astrobiology) (Which is about as low as it gets, apparently).
Then that mean that we are contributing to make these 2 Rizzo etal peer reviewed papers known to the World via the CosmoQuest forum.http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif
Eta
For those just joining the discussion here a link to Rizzo etal peer reviewed papers.
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm
http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MmSAI/82/PDF/348.pdf

Selfsim
2013-Jul-23, 05:33 AM
Then that mean that we are contributing to make these 2 Rizzo etal peer reviewed papers known to the World via the CosmoQuest forum.;)I'm pretty sure that's detracted from the credibility Rizzo etal would've preferred .. especially in the face of stiff competition coming from my martian chicken drumstick and snottite discoveries! :p :)

Now there's some impact for ya!

Don J
2013-Jul-23, 05:53 AM
I'm pretty sure that's detracted from the credibility Rizzo etal would've preferred .. especially in the face of stiff competition coming from my martian chicken drumstick and snottite discoveries! :p :)

Now there's some impact for ya!

Then, we are all waiting that you publish a peer reviewed paper about your astonishing discoveries.http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/smilies/big-grin.png

Selfsim
2013-Jul-23, 06:32 AM
But wait!! There's even more! (http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html)

Go to=> Science Cameras=>Microscopic Imager=>Sol 221
3rd line, last image ... at the top!

Something's taken a bite out of a blueberry ... it left teeth marks!

Selfsim
2013-Jul-23, 06:36 AM
Signs of intelligence ... fossilised artefacts! (http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html)

Go to=> Science Cameras=>Microscopic Imager=>Sol 2926
1st line, last image!

Ancient tools or machinery bits and pieces?

Selfsim
2013-Jul-23, 06:38 AM
Nobel Prize material, this is!

I can see a major report coming up!

Don J
2013-Jul-23, 02:41 PM
As i have said in post 5:
I have selected that study because it correspond to your own criteria described in the other post.
I doubt that Pareidolia was the basis of the paper made by the very serious International Journal of Astrobiology of © Cambridge University Press


Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post

So you are assuming that it started in oceans/lakes? If so, there are currents in oceans and circulation in lakes which might spread it. There is evidence of free flowing liquid water in the areas currently being examined by Curiosity (and Opportunity, I believe?) .. I would think both would be in just the right places to observe evidence of the remnants of past life. The type of life is presumed to be microbial. Microbial extremophiles leave behind structural evidence like stomatolites (like in Shark Bay, WA), and visibly coloured layers atypical of the immediately surrounding sediment layers in sedimentary rock cross-sections .. (even when they're no longer living).

As a reminder these two peer reviewed papers fits what you were describing whatever you like it or not....
http://www.pianetamarte.net/V_Rizzo_Life_on_Mars.htm
http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MmSAI/82/PDF/348.pdf

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 12:49 AM
As i have said in post 5:
I have selected that study because it correspond to your own criteria described in the other post.Oh, I realise that's what you think. What actually built what is believed to be the terrestrial WA Stromatolites of some 3.5Gy age, has not yet been concluded in most scientific circles .. (although multiple lines of evidence (beyond morphologies), legitimise the inference of some form of metabolising life-form). It was this 'other' evidence, which facilitated this. Rizzo etal don't have such evidence. The claims made in their conclusion completely ignore such considerations, (due to a lack of data to do so):
The inorganic sedimentary processes follow simple rules, whereas the structures we described denote complex products, congruent to the terrestrial biogenic environment: life has existed and is still alive on Mars.Firstly, many complex inorganic structures are formed everyday, by processes which can be approximated in models, which make use of simple rules. Therefore the first part of this conclusion is fallacious reasoning.

Secondly, the structures they describe are not at all clearly evident, in the images they provide (helicoidal spirals, etc).

Thirdly, I don't know what their peer reviewers were doing when they did their reviews of this study, but they certainly weren't doing their jobs properly when it comes to scrutinising the authors' propensity towards pareidolia. Where's the evidence refuting what I say here, in the authors' text? As Brasier says (post #12):
… we need to ask not ‘what do these structures remind us of ?’, but ‘what are these structures?’ … and then from post#19 Wacey etal:
Biology-like morphology and behaviour can seldom completely exclude an origin from abiotic artefacts, because abiotic carbonaceous coatings of grain margins may mimic cellular morphology.

I doubt that Pareidolia was the basis of the paper made by the very serious International Journal of Astrobiology of © Cambridge University PressRepeating the name of the journal makes no difference for me.
The quality of the work done in this paper is poor. The real impetus for the study in the first place, is revealed in the conclusion statement, quoted above.

I'm continually amazed when folk cannot see the difference between being led by the data at hand, vs being led by prior beliefs. In this case, can one not see that Mars is a totally different planet to Earth .. known to have processes which are not evident on Earth? One cannot eliminate such processes from consideration when examining spherules on Mars, unless one at least considers their effects on the surrounding geology and the samples under study. Concluding that spherules 'must be' stromatolites formed by life, is just bad science. I don't care what the credentials of the authors, reviewers or publication editors are. I suspect these studies have been ignored because of the poor, preconceived approach taken, as well as it being opposed to the consensus view (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_spherules) of them having more likely been formed by accretion under water, meteor impacts or volcanic eruptions.


As a reminder these two peer reviewed papers fits what you were describing whatever you like it or not….That's your view .. not mine. I excluded any synergies in terms of 'fit', in several different posts, in order to reinforce the distinction of pareidolia. Your only counter for this is assuming peer review eliminated this consideration. The journal the study was published in, is not considered to be one of significance in scientific astrobiological nor paleontological circles, as pointed out in post #39.

ASTRO BOY
2013-Jul-24, 03:32 AM
That's your view .. not mine. I excluded any synergies in terms of 'fit', in several different posts, in order to reinforce the distinction of pareidolia. Your only counter for this is assuming peer review eliminated this consideration. The journal the study was published in, is not considered to be one of significance in scientific astrobiological nor paleontological circles, as pointed out in post #39.



Hmmmmm, Pareidolia...That word seems to be the flavour of the month.

I'll side with the experts noted in this thread and maintain an open mind on the subject.
Of course they maybe remnants of past microbial life....That automatically means they may not be also.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 06:27 AM
It seems the "very serious International Journal of Astrobiology of © Cambridge University Press", has, in the past, published dodgy articles, thereby demonstrating a potential for dubious products to emerge from their peer review process.

The article in question, was one by a Stuart Pivar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Pivar) entitled: "The Origin of the Vertibrate Skeleton".
Pivar was subsequently labelled a "crackpot" by one PZ Myers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZ_Myers), a widely published Associate Professor in evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota.

Of course, the glossy magazine site, Astrobiology Magazine, (http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/3628/innovative-solution-to-the-evolution-of-form-proposed) 'upped the ante', by making Pivar's article sound like a revolutionary ATM 'theory'. They also reported:
In the peer-reviewed journal’s letter of acceptance the reviewer states, "... the article should be published, so that as many scientists as possible can participate in the discussion on this new important subject.” Simon Mitton, prominent Cambridge scientist and IJA editor-in-chief, calls it “a groundbreaking concept.”The joke was of course, that Pivar holds only a BSc in Chemistry, is an art collector and an author.
It seems neither his background, nor his (now) debunked article, was ever detected by the International Journal of Astrobiology's 'serious' peer-review process.

IMO, it seems they've let another one slip through by publishing Rizzo etal's article .. (as discussed in the last several posts of this thread).

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 06:42 AM
I'll side with the experts noted in this thread Now exactly which 'experts noted in this thread' would you be 'siding' with?


Of course they maybe remnants of past microbial life....That automatically means they may not be also.And I might agree, except such a statement could be made about anything where pertinent data is lacking.
Unfortunately, Rizzo etal conclude something completely different from this .. ie:
The inorganic sedimentary processes follow simple rules, whereas the structures we described denote complex products, congruent to the terrestrial biogenic environment: life has existed and is still alive on MarsThis clearly steps over the line of 'possibility', and puts the preceding work squarely in the realm of rather sloppy pseudoscience.

Don J
2013-Jul-24, 07:11 AM
Cough!Cough! See who publish Rizzo's paper called -Textures on Mars: evidences of a biogenic environment.-
SAO/NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011MmSAI..82..348R

abstract


Sediments on Mars could be explained as the result of simple coalescing structures having the ability to produce oriented concretions and more complex forms, as are intertwined filaments of microspherules, laminae and "blueberries", growing from a microscopic scale to a macroscopic one. Of which we have examples in some terrestrial microbial community, especially in regards to cyanobacteria and their organosedimentary products named stromatolites. This study aims to describe the most-often structural features that occur, showing their mutual relations in passing from simple to complex forms. These relationships could explain the genesis and the shapes of "blueberries" as the result of two different processes: by an enrolling sheet of microspherules or by an internal growing of minor spherule aggregates.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 07:56 AM
Cough!Cough! See who publish Rizzo's paper called -Textures on Mars: evidences of a biogenic environment.-
SAO/NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011MmSAI..82..348R

abstract.. and so?

You should also notice the list of famous names on the Editorial Board of the IJA (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayMoreInfo?jid=IJA&type=eb&sessionId=B3DF36637C0D82879D405AF57312B802.journal s) ... including favorite celebrities like Chris McKay and other NASA Ames people ... like the Editor himself .. Rocco Mancinelli.

I have no idea why these people would risk their reputations by allowing the publication of articles of such poor quality to slip by .. perhaps they weren't involved back in 2009(?) (This seems to also be the same publication timeframe for the Pivar article, too).

Even so, I have no qualms about "telling it like it is", on the basis of what was written, ie: regardless of who wrote it, or what Journal certified it.

There have been other NASA employed Astro-biologists who have produced dodgy work, including the now famous Richard Hoover ALH84001 meteorite debacle .. (I notice Hoover's 2007 paper, although submitted to the IJA, didn't complete the peer review process .. one can only ponder .. perhaps it may have ended up being publlished by the IJA if it had completed the process...? McKay was also involved in all that too, eh?)

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 08:24 AM
... McKay was also involved in all that too, eh?)Oops .. wrong McKay .. it was David McKay who started the 84001 issue ..not Chris McKay.

Chris McKay is also quite familiar with being totally 'wrong' about certain things too, though ..

ASTRO BOY
2013-Jul-24, 09:46 AM
Now exactly which 'experts noted in this thread' would you be 'siding' with?

And I might agree, except such a statement could be made about anything where pertinent data is lacking.
Unfortunately, Rizzo etal conclude something completely different from this .. ie:This clearly steps over the line of 'possibility', and puts the preceding work squarely in the realm of rather sloppy pseudoscience.




The experts mentioned throughout the post and referenced including the OP.

You see what you need to face up to is that NASA, SETI, ESA and other such associated orginisations are in the main run by balanced informed experts.
What in my opinion your argument seems to be on about, is decrying the obvious enthusiasm and optimism of these people....That goes with the territory I would suggest, and as we all know, it is optimism and dare I say it, faith that drives these talented knowledgable people......
To use the "flavour of the month"word, possibly even Pareidolia maybe a source of their enthusiasm.
But what's wrong with that.
We all are wrong at times and if they are shown by their peers and incoming data that they are wrong, well again, that's part of science.

The weird geological/organosedimentary structures found on Mars are worthy of further investigation. Again, I see nothing wrong in someone saying they look like this or that and could be of this or that origin.
Mars is now known well enough for mainstream opinion to believe, based on observational data, that it once contained Oceans and Seas.
That in itself could be the imputus for further speculation regarding past life and maybe even present life.
The speculation process, [without going into ridiculous examples of speculation akin to Elephants hanging over cliffs, with their tails tied to Dandelions] is part of the scientific process.

And as part of that process, I would imagine others at the coal face are more subdued and probably not as excited or optimistic about the find.
And I would imagine both sides work well together within the orginisations they belong to.

If you find their speculation/assumptions/conclusions to be based on flimsy data, why not put pen to paper, [or finger to keyboard] and inform them of your opinions based on your study of the data available.

ASTRO BOY
2013-Jul-24, 09:58 AM
I have no idea why these people would risk their reputations by allowing the publication of articles of such poor quality to slip by .. perhaps they weren't involved back in 2009(?) (This seems to also be the same publication timeframe for the Pivar article, too).

Even so, I have no qualms about "telling it like it is", on the basis of what was written, ie: regardless of who wrote it, or what Journal certified it.

eh?)



I also have no qualms about " telling it like I think it is "either..........But you know we both could be wrong.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-24, 11:08 AM
The weird geological/organosedimentary structures found on Mars are worthy of further investigation.I agree with that.

Don J
2013-Jul-24, 07:40 PM
Originally Posted by ASTRO BOY
The weird geological/organosedimentary structures found on Mars are worthy of further investigation.


I agree with that.
Ditto!!! http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/smilies/smile.png

Don J
2013-Jul-26, 03:23 AM
Originally posted by Selfsim :
Curiosity has encountered conglomerates whose constituents have a slightly more familiar pebbly appearance .. perhaps its just a matter of time until it finds a genuine blueberry it can analyse (fingers crossed).

Do you have a link about that?
Eta
Answering my own question...
Here it is:
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/03201405-lpsc-curiosity-opportunity.html


Along the first part of the traverse (the patchy and intermittent outcrop part), Curiosity encountered lots of conglomerates and some sandstones. The conglomerates are, I think, one of the more important discoveries made by Curiosity to date. Becky Williams described the conglomerates exposed in the Goulburn, Link, and Hottah outcrops. She said they were polymict, meaning that the pebbles that they contain are diverse in both shape and color. At Link, she saw rounded pebbles embedded in a sandy sedimentary deposit. At Hottah, she saw "imbricated" stones. Imbricated means that flattish stones are stacked up at an angle to the presumed bed of the flowing water, something that happens when you have rapid water flow.

Williams quanitfied the roundness of the pebbles, showing them to be more than an order of magnitude rounder than anything seen at the Pathfinder landing site. She quantified the size of the pebbles, showing them to have a median grain size of 5 to 10 millimeters and a normally distributed range of grain sizes, similar to river pebbles seen in the Atacama desert.

Curiosity left these conglomerates behind before getting to Jake Matijevic, which means, among other things, that they were never checked out with either MAHLI or APXS on the robotic arm.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-26, 06:07 AM
Do you have a link about that?
Eta
Answering my own question...
Here it is:
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/03201405-lpsc-curiosity-opportunity.html
Hmm .. I notice this quote from Emily's blog page
Another thing that remains mysterious even after all of Opportunity's hiking around the outcrop is what the "newberries" are made of. Whitewater Lake is absolutely full of these round things that look a lot like the "blueberries" of the Burns formation, but they are absolutely not made of hematite. At least, not entirely. Rocks full of newberries are indistinguishable in composition from rocks mostly lacking them. I asked Matt Golombek how that can be, and he explained to me that these berries have a rind to them (the team likes to call them "crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle"), and that the rind likely has a distinct composition (enriched in iron) but that the interior does not. They will be trying a couple of tricks with the rock abrasion tool and APXS to try to figure out the story of the newberries.Before Curiosity hit the ground, I think they were pretty sure they'd find hematite at the surface, because they'd spotted its spectrographic signature in lots of other places (like Sinus Meridiani). The impression I got from all that, was that I think they thought the blueberries finally encountered by Opportunity, were probably 'grey hematite' aggregates spotted from orbit .. but now in the quote above, they're saying that 'newberries' aren't hematite, eh? (Interesting). (I'm not sure yet how one can tell the difference between a 'newberry' and a 'blueberry' from the images ... any ideas?)

I guess they're more pebble-like, but these Curiosity 'pebbles' (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?rawid=0275MH0256001000E1_DXXX&s=275) certainly have that 'blueberry' look about 'em! These images (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?s=65&camera=MAHLI) showed the suspected "shrimp/prawn-shell-like" piece of plastic in them .. there was so much excitement at the time about the chunk of plastic, I don't think anyone noticed the roundness of the pebbles(??)

So, we seem to how have newberries, blueberries, spherules, spherule aggregates and pebbles?

PS: Looks like 'Becky Williams' from your quote, may have been noticing the roundness of the Curiosity pebbles ... (I think you added the quote to your post, whilst I was composing this one )...

Selfsim
2013-Jul-26, 06:12 AM
More info on the Curiosity pebbly-like streambed pebbles here. (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20130530f.html#.UfILRKzJHFw)

Paul Wally
2013-Jul-26, 09:55 AM
Earth based hematite concretions (www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/earlymars2004/pdf/8012.pdf) seem to be the closest analog to the Martian blueberries.

galacsi
2013-Jul-26, 10:47 AM
On sand beaches like one I know quite well near Quend Plage on the English (:rolleyes:) Chanel , you can see lots and lots of small grey berries. They are done by small animals I think. Alas I cannot attach the pictures I took of them.

Selfsim
2013-Jul-27, 02:10 AM
Good recent article on Opportunity findings here (May 2013). (http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2013/05-mer-special-update-opportunitys-findings-at-endeavour-crater-so-far.html)

The blueberries were originally found to be primarily composed of hematite. This was confirmed by the APXS and Mossbauer spectrometers, (when they were working .. they're broken now).

Also, scrolling down to the paper entitled: "Recent Results from the Opportunity Microscopic Imager" it states the following:

The geologic structure of Matijevic Hill area is complex and from the first images, as Arvidson showed during the conference, Mars presented surprises. At the foot of Kirkwood and all around the adjacent bright, flat Whitewater Lake outcrop, are tiny spherules, dubbed "newberries," that are unlike the hematite-rich "blueberries" or concretions the rover previously found all over the Meridiani Plains.

"The MI images of the spherules on Matijevic Hill indicate there was some kind of precipitation of minerals; therefore, aqueous alteration of them," said Herkenhoff. "Where the spherules are broken, they show a concentric texture that suggests that they grew radially. The spherules are all about the same size, which does not specifically indicate precipitation, but is consistent with it. And they are spherical, which again is not diagnostic but consistent with precipitation." This information helps the scientists put the spectroscopy and elemental chemistry data into context.

Although the origin of the Kirkwood outcrop remains uncertain, its setting on the rim of Endeavour suggests that the newberries were formed during an impact, perhaps the one that made Endeavour, or not. "The concentration of spherules in Kirkwood suggests that they were transported or at least concentrated into that area," Herkenhoff pointed out. "They may have been formed by an impact event before the Endeavour impact, and then sorted and concentrated in the ejecta blanket." There are multiple working hypotheses for their formation, with concretions from precipitation and lapilli being the two favorites. ... (No need for invoking any microbial role in their formation ..)

Selfsim
2013-Jul-27, 02:17 AM
Also from the same article:

Although at first blush, these small spherules look like the hematite-rich concretions dubbed "blueberries" that Opportunity found throughout her travels in the Meridiani plains, there are visual differences and "a big compositional difference," said Squyres. "These do not have the very high iron content that would be required to be the nearly pure hematite blueberries we have seen out on the plains."

The newberries do show concentric structure, with a hard outer shell and a softer middle, and are matrix supported. Contrary to earlier findings, the composition of these spherules "is different from the matrix," Squryes announced at LPSC, acknowledging work of Brad Jolliff. All the newberry data Opportunity returned home led the scientists to conclude they probably are diagenetic concretions, as are the blueberries out on the plains, but "more weakly cemented, perhaps with an iron oxide," he said. "But we're still working on that."

Don J
2013-Jul-27, 04:46 AM
Maybe that may be interesting to make a comparative study of Martian spherules vs Moon spherules collected by the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 astronauts.
You will notice that the meteoroid impacts on the Moon produce glass spherules.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004AGUFMSH51B0272L


With 5 g of soil collected by the Apollo 12 astronauts, we are continuing our study of the meteoroid bombardment history of the Moon and the inner solar system. The Moon, by virtue of its lack of water and air, preserves evidence of ancient meteoroid impacts that would quickly be eroded away or otherwise obscured on Earth. We use the 40Ar/39Ar isochron technique to determine the ages of individual glass spherules which are produced in meteoroid impacts on the Moon. The spherules in our study are ˜200 microns in diameter, and typically contain ˜100 fmol of radiogenic 40Ar.