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kostas12ldb
2015-Sep-29, 01:54 PM
Hello everyone!

I was recently browsing through some RAW images from Curiosity, and I could clearly see some signs of "editing"...
It seems that someone has added sand to some parts on the landscapes. Check this out:

Picture 01 (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00744/mcam/0744MR0031940270403352E01_DXXX.jpg)
Picture 02 (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00853/mcam/0853MR0037660000501024E01_DXXX.jpg)

This could be my imagination, what do you guys see?
It looks like both images have been "touched" by an amature.

Swift
2015-Sep-29, 05:11 PM
Hi kostas12ldb, welcome to CQ.

I don't see anything that looks like editing to me. What feature in these images do you think shows signs of an edit? I do see lots of sand... but that's normal for Mars. Martian sandstorms are well known; winds erode rocks and blow it around. One of the rovers even got caught for a while in a "sand trap".

kostas12ldb
2015-Sep-29, 06:35 PM
Thank you for accepting me to your forum guys! Nice to be here! :)

Yeah, I am aware of the long-lasting sandstorms that hit the Martian surface, but these spots look awkward.

I was talking about these marked spots...

2104621047

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-29, 07:26 PM
I immediately noticed the weirdness of the appearance of the
interface between the large sand-spill near the upper-left and
the large, layered rock to the left of it. I had to look at it for a
couple of minutes to figure out that it is probably not a seam
between two different images, nor an impossibly-located edge
of the sand spill on the rock, but the edge of the rock itself.
The rock would have to be broken at an extremely sharp angle
in a plane that intuitively seems completely wrong. But I don't
know squat about how rocks break. In this case, the sharp
edge cuts across the layers, making a wedge shape so narrow
that it looks like the rock only has one side. We can only see
the left side (and top) of the wedge. The bottom of the wedge
somewhat resembles the bottom of a steam iron, except that
steam irons are generally curved to a point at the front while
this rock goes straight to the point. The angle has to be very
narrow in order to not see any indication of the other side of
the wedge. The edge of the shadow of this rock on the sand
at the front point of the wedge lines up almost exactly with the
direction to the camera. The sand apparently piles against the
back side of the rock, but I see very little sign that the sand
actually piles *up* against it, other than the gentle curve of
the top of the spill, or that the sand spilled around the back of
the rock. Or the front. It's just a very odd geometry. It looks
all wrong. There are lots of other rocks with similarly weird-
looking interfaces with the sand. The rock at the bottom of the
picture has an incredibly straight edge on the right side and an
equally-incredibly ragged edge on the opposite side. Is the
upper-leftmost part of that ragged edge sticking up in the "air"
or is it buried in sand? I can't tell. That's what makes it look
so strange. In several places there are sharp edges that could
be either edges of very thin shards of rock, or edges of sand
spills covering much larger rocks. The shadows seem to give
clues that contradict the other clues.

I just realized that a rock immediately above the large spill at
the upper left is cracked across the layers in the same way as
the rock to the left of the spill. The right edge of the rock is
broken in the same way. It appears that this rock preferentially
cracks and breaks off across the layers, but also sometimes
breaks off in the plane of the layers.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-29, 07:31 PM
I also notice that the rock to the left of the spill broke off
from the rock to the left and slightly above it. An extremely
flat, smooth surface made by a break through many layers.
Just totally weird to me.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Sep-29, 09:55 PM
I was talking about these marked spots...
The marked spots are rocks and sand that look no different from many of the other rocks or sand in the images. So I have to go with "my imagination" in the OP :D.

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-29, 11:33 PM
Reality Check,

The first marked spot is exactly what I noticed the moment
I saw the picture, and described. (kostas12ldb's post was
not posted until after mine because it had to be approved,
since it is only his second post.)

Doesn't it appear to you that the sand spill is spilling over
a large rock with horizontal layers which extends from the
left edge of the photo to the center of the photo? Do you
think such a geometry is physically possible?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

DonM435
2015-Sep-30, 12:17 AM
Is it possible that the pictures were scanned over some time, and the view actually changed (e.g., rock crumbled, dust blew in) during the scan, resulting in what appears to be an abrupt break?

Or maybe something walked away. ;)

Cougar
2015-Sep-30, 12:32 AM
Doesn't it appear to you that the sand spill is spilling over
a large rock with horizontal layers which extends from the
left edge of the photo to the center of the photo?

It's more like your "large rock" split vertically and separated, and the sand is spilling between the halves. A sandfall.

Humans are great at pattern recognition. Sometimes overly so.

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-30, 12:40 AM
Yes, that is what it took me a couple of minutes to see when I
first looked at the photo. There are many places where sand
partially covers rock, and many places where the broken edge
of a rock looks like it is covered by sand, but isn't. Telling
which is which is not trivial.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Sep-30, 03:40 AM
Doesn't it appear to you that the sand spill is spilling over
a large rock with horizontal layers which extends from the
left edge of the photo to the center of the photo? Do you
think such a geometry is physically possible?
The first marked spot looks like a rock that has split off from another larger rock - note the matching cleavage plane. That is physically possible. ETA: Thermal stress (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weathering#Thermal_stress) caused by temperature differences between day and night are known to spilt rocks along planes as in this image.
It appears to me that sand has been blown over the "large rock with horizontal layers which extends from the left edge of the photo to the center of the photo".

I see nothing that is physically impossible. I am not a geologist but I have seen similar pictures of rock formations in deserts.

What I think is that kostas12ldb has marked a part of the image that is not measurably different from any other part of the image.

kostas12ldb
2015-Sep-30, 07:02 AM
Both of these spots do not seem to be "naturaly-made".

As Jeff Root extensively explained above, something is not right about these pictures.
The only logical explanation is what DonM435 has mentioned.
Only if these pictures are results of multiple scans/snaps, and NOT a SINGLE shot could these "abnormalities" occur.

OK, the first picture (with the lower left marked spot) could happen with some strange combination of rock fracture shape, rock angle, shadow/light angle etc.
But the second one (with the upper right marked spot) is not possible. OK, I do not want to be absolute, I give it a 1 out of 10^10 chances to be naturaly formed. :P

CJSF
2015-Sep-30, 11:45 AM
Both look totally normal for fractured rocks with the fractured faces turned sideways or away from the camera. While they might seem unusual, they certainly aren't abnormal at all. What possible purpose would JPL or "NASA" have for editing pictures on a raw image page? It makes no sense. I totally agree with Reality Check.

CJSF

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-30, 01:48 PM
The illusion I see is something like the three-pronged widget
illusion, where it has three round prongs at one end and only
two square prongs at the other. Concentrating on either end,
it looks perfectly normal, but the whole thing cannot exist as
an actual physical object. There are other optical illusions I'm
not recalling right now that I'm sure are an even better fit.

The Mars rock illusion still looks odd even after figuring out
that the sand is behind the rock, not in front. It seems to be
from a combination of the thinness and sharpness of the rock
fragments, the very straight, smooth edges contrasted with
unusually ragged edges, the way the rocks are sticking out of
the sand, and the angle of the sunlight relative to the edges
of the rocks and the camera making shadows in places that
seem impossible if the sand is in front.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

DonM435
2015-Sep-30, 01:58 PM
...
The only logical explanation is what DonM435 has mentioned.
Only if these pictures are results of multiple scans/snaps, and NOT a SINGLE shot could these "abnormalities" occur.
...


I'm thinking that a single scan, if slow enough could result in oddities.

I remember, long ago, in some physics teachers’ journal, they published photographs of teachers at some picnic. Someone noted a curiosity in a picture of some guy batting in a softball game.

In the photo, he’s just hit the ball, which has a squashed shape from the impact and is clearly moving away from the bat. However, in the shadow of the action on the ground, the ball’s shape is undistorted and circular, and it’s just contacting the bat.

Amazing, said the comment, this physics teacher can swing so fast that the shadow, produced of course at light speed, is lagging behind the swing.

Someone knowledgeable about photography responded that the camera probably scans the field from bottom to top, and hence caught the shadow some milliseconds before it caught the actual swing, which had progressed a bit in the interval.

Jeff Root
2015-Sep-30, 02:23 PM
There would not have been any motion in the scene during
the taking of the image unless the camera moved. I know
the camera moves between images, but it shouldn't move
during the taking of an image. Camera motion is ruled out
anyway by the fact that just small areas of the image are
affected. So it would require motion of the rocks similar to
the motion of the bat and ball.

The anomalies do resemble photos from different positions
being stitched together, but I think the explanation is the
combination of oddly-shaped rocks, sand, and shadows.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Sep-30, 09:29 PM
Both of these spots do not seem to be "naturaly-made".
kostas12ldb, there has been no explanation of what makes these parts of the images seem to be not naturally-made.
I pointed out that rocks fractured like this occur naturally (and sand piles up) as in the images (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?158637-quot-Edited-quot-Curiosity-raw-images-on-NASA-server&p=2315996#post2315996).
CJSF pointed out the same (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?158637-quot-Edited-quot-Curiosity-raw-images-on-NASA-server&p=2316028#post2316028).
Jeff Root seems to be thinking now that any perceived strangeness is an optical illusion (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?158637-quot-Edited-quot-Curiosity-raw-images-on-NASA-server&p=2316051#post2316051) or a combination of oddly-shaped rocks, sand, and shadows (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?158637-quot-Edited-quot-Curiosity-raw-images-on-NASA-server&p=2316060#post2316060).
DonM435 wondered about scanning (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?158637-quot-Edited-quot-Curiosity-raw-images-on-NASA-server&p=2315962#post2315962) - however the Curiosity MastCam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity_(rover)#Mast_Camera_.28MastCam.29) with its 16001200 CCD, does not scan an image a line at a time like the boom cameras on spacecraft.

Jeff Root
2015-Oct-01, 01:10 AM
kostas12ldb, there has been no explanation of
what makes these parts of the images seem to be not
naturally-made.
I believe that I correctly described what kostas12ldb
is seeing. The questions are whether you are seeing
the same thing; if so, why you don't acknowledge it;
and if not, why not. You might be seeing the rock in
front of the sand and not seeing the illusion of the sand
being in front of the rock. Or you might be seeing the
sand in front and not realizing that it can't be there.
You haven't said what you see other than that it looks
normal to you.

For anyone who sees the illusion, my description should
be entirely adequate, but for snyone who doesn't see it,
they might not understand what the heck I'm babbling
about.



I pointed out that rocks fractured like this occur naturally
(and sand piles up) as in the images.
Stating that what is there is normal and ordinary tells us
that you don't see what the OP is asking about. It doesn't
explain what is happening that makes it look wrong to us.



Jeff Root seems to be thinking now that any perceived
strangeness is an optical illusion or a combination of
oddly-shaped rocks, sand, and shadows.
No, not "now" and not "or". All along and both. What I see
is apparently an optical illusion caused by a combination of
oddly-shaped rocks, sand, and shadows. And the fact that
it occurs in several places, in more than one image, helps
to confirm that something is wrong.



DonM435 wondered about scanning - however the Curiosity
MastCam with its 16001200 CCD, does not scan an image
a line at a time like the boom cameras on spacecraft.
It does scan the image, but of course you are right that it
isn't like the camera on Voyager. It scans like an ordinary
digital camera. Quick.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Oct-01, 01:51 AM
I believe that I correctly described what kostas12ldb
is seeing.
What kostas12ldb said he was seeing was "It seems that someone has added sand to some parts on the landscapes". But the highlighted spots show no signs of any added sand.
Thus the answer is that it is in his imagination.

I see a couple of images with nothing edited in them. I see no "added sand" in the marked spots. I see nothing strange about the rocks in the marked spots. I see no optical illusion(s).

What we have so far is an "optical illusion" which only kostas12ldb and you think that you can see. And no guarantee that you two are seeing the same illusion!

A 16001200 CCD does not scan to take an image that is 1600 pixels by 1200 pixels in size. Multiple images can be stitched together to form a bigger image. But these are raw images from the Curiosity MastCam.
An ordinary digital camera does not scan either because they also use a matrix of light detecting elements: How Does A Digital Camera Work? (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/technology-explained-how-does-a-digital-camera-work/)
The only "scanning" that happens is in the software processing of the pixels.

kostas12ldb
2015-Oct-01, 01:50 PM
Reality Check, I have actually showed the image to 4 of my friends.
I have asked them to see the image and point out if there was any strange part in them (without directing them of course). 2 marked both spots, but all 4 focused on the second image spot (and quite fast I dare say).
I am not a conspiracy theorist, never was, never will be. But I always like to receive logical answers to simple questions.

Final verdict for me;
61.2654% chances of "odd and precise conditions" to result in these strange, "glitch"-like photos
38.7345% chances of a Curiosity hardware glitch/camera sync/filter phenomenon
00.0001% chances that NASA is trying to cover something (never say never, as my old friend James used to say) :P

Swift
2015-Oct-01, 03:04 PM
Final verdict for me;
61.2654% chances of "odd and precise conditions" to result in these strange, "glitch"-like photos
38.7345% chances of a Curiosity hardware glitch/camera sync/filter phenomenon
00.0001% chances that NASA is trying to cover something (never say never, as my old friend James used to say) :P
I'm glad you calculated those odds to four decimal places kostas12ldb, because if you only had calculated them to three decimal places I would be 99.9999% certain you had made up those numbers. :D

Spacedude
2015-Oct-01, 04:21 PM
00.0001% chances that NASA is trying to cover something (never say never, as my old friend James used to say) :P

If NASA's intent was to cover up these photos via editing wouldn't be easier for them to just keep the originals locked up in their super secret photo warehouse rather than publish them at all?....or maybe I'm missing something such as NASA has to release all photos, therefore editing was their only option? btw, I'm not saying that I believe these photos were edited or not.

NEOWatcher
2015-Oct-01, 05:09 PM
If NASA's intent was to cover up these photos via editing wouldn't be easier for them to just keep the originals locked up in their super secret photo warehouse rather than publish them at all?....or maybe I'm missing something such as NASA has to release all photos, therefore editing was their only option? btw, I'm not saying that I believe these photos were edited or not.
If NASA is covering up something by editing the photos, I'm sure they could have done a much better job of it. It's something I see in CT theories all the time. The agency in question is so well at contriving a coverup, but so inept as to leave easily caught clues.

Both photos do look kind of strange to me, but I do see them as shadow effects. I can't quite grasp what the source or edges causing the shadows in entirety, but most of the edges do look explainable.

I wish the second picture had more of what is to the right of that upper region. It looks to me as there is some shadow from that direction. It also matches the shadow effect on the rock immediately above the rectangle highlighted in post #4.

Reality Check
2015-Oct-01, 08:07 PM
Reality Check, I have actually showed the image to 4 of my friends.
kostas12ldb: Your friends discovered interesting parts of the images. Even before you highlighted the spots I had noticed the fascinating cleaved rock + nicely ridged "dune" (image 1) and the sharp edged rock with a shadow facing the camera (image 2).
But I know that such rocks and sand formation are normal geology. So I do not find them strange. Like you, I am not dumb enough to think that the raw images have been edited.

The images are normal thus there is basically 0% chance that this is a "glitch" in the Curiosity MastCam. N.B. These raw images are a single image each.

The logical and simple answer to the question is that these are interesting spots in the images that you and your friends find strange. They are naturally-made through well known geological processes - thermal stress and sand being blown by wind.

Jeff Root
2015-Oct-01, 10:09 PM
A 16001200 CCD does not scan to take an image
that is 1600 pixels by 1200 pixels in size...
An ordinary digital camera does not scan either
because they also use a matrix of light detecting
elements: ...
The only "scanning" that happens is in the software
processing of the pixels.
The CCD doesn't scan, but the camera does. The
shutter curtains move across the CCD, exposing
different parts of it progressively. Scanning. It is
why the softball and bat and their shadows were
in conflicting positions in post #15.

http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/08/09/camera-shutter-cheat-sheet-understanding-shutter-speeds-curtains-and-how-it-all-works/

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Oct-01, 11:21 PM
The CCD doesn't scan, but the camera does.
That is not what Camera shutter cheat sheet: a jargon-free guide to understanding how it all works (http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/08/09/camera-shutter-cheat-sheet-understanding-shutter-speeds-curtains-and-how-it-all-works/) says.

Your camera’s shutter controls how long the sensor is exposed to light. It uses a pair of ‘curtains’ or blinds. One opens to start the exposure, and the other is closed to end it.

At slower shutter speeds, both curtains on your camera’s shutter are open for some of the exposure. At faster speeds (any speed above the ‘flash sync speed’ – 1/200sec on many models), the second curtain closes the opening as the first is still opening.

It is only for fast shutter speeds that the blinds will "scan" collected light across the CCD for a ordinary digital camera. For slow shutter speeds both blinds open.
Also MastCam is not an ordinary digital camera (http://msl-scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov/Instruments/Mastcam/). No mention of a shutter or its speed but I suspect there is at least one internally.

Jeff Root
2015-Oct-01, 11:51 PM
Reality Check,

You keep referring to the geology. The geology was never
in question. The question is the geometry. Okay, they're
both geo! The question about the geometry is why it should
look so strange, in multiple places, in multiple images. And
a secondary question is why you don't see it.

In post #24 you briefly refer to elements of the two images.
I previously concentrated on picture01. Let's look at your
reference to picture02:

"the sharp edged rock with a shadow facing the camera"

That's not much of a description. Lots of sharp-edged rocks
with shadows. What does "facing the camera" mean? But
you are referring to whatever is in the area inside the box.
That area appears to contain a rock on the left and smooth
sand on the right, with some small ripples in it. The right
edge of the rock is the left edge of the sand. This edge is
a straight line, 8-10 degrees from vertical, upper right to
lower left. There is no visible shadow on the sand, and no
large shadow on the rock -- just some small shadows that
are probably caused by layers as in the other rocks. The
top edge of the sand lines up with a tiny shadow almost at
the very top of the rock, making the two look connected.
It appears that the image of the sand has a straight, nearly
vertical edge, hiding the right side of the rock, as if the
image of the sand was pasted over the image of the rock.
The sand cannot have a nearly vertical edge, such a straight
edge on an otherwise ragged rock looks unnatural, and the
alignment of the sand with the rock, coupled with the fact
that the sand does not reappear on the left side of the rock,
adds to that unnaturalness.

I'd say it is worth asking how these pictures got like that.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

cjameshuff
2015-Oct-01, 11:53 PM
This all seems a bit like one person arguing that cars use carburetors while another argues that they use fuel injection, while both are looking at a Tesla.

Cameras are built in a lot of ways. Some of them have used physical rolling shutters. A lot of video cameras use what is effectively rolling electronic shutters, reading out and resetting one line at a time. This is why a lot of digital video is "wobbly". Some cameras shift the state of every imaging element on the sensor into a holding area for readout to avoid this. This requires a more complex image sensor, with tradeoffs in pixel density and/or manufacturing complexity and cost.

I have no idea what kind of sensor the MastCam uses. As for the images, there are some ambiguities where there's not enough visual information to make the geometry clear, but that's not unusual (I've had plenty of my own photos that I've had to puzzle over for a bit on review), and I see no sign of editing. A stereo image would probably make the scene perfectly clear.

Jeff Root
2015-Oct-02, 12:01 AM
Even if it is only for part of the exposure, it is still a scan.
Different parts of the image are exposed at slightly different
times. I never thought that that could be what happened
here -- it couldn't -- but the principle is sound.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Reality Check
2015-Oct-02, 12:26 AM
Different parts of the image are exposed at slightly different
times.
A scan is not "Different parts of the image are exposed at slightly different times". It is sequential parts of the image being exposed at sequential times. A line of light would be scanned across a CCD.
There is no evidence that light is scanned across the 16001200 CCD in MastCam. It could be that there is no shutter - they just turn the CCD on and off. I have seen no mention of shutter speed in the raw image archive or technical descriptions of MastCam.

NEOWatcher
2015-Oct-02, 01:17 AM
I don't see how shutters or scans have anything to do with these two pictures. If it were an artifact from either process, it should be visible across the picture if the camera moved. For it to only show in such small areas of the pictures, something (like the rocks, or the sand) would have to be moving at a rapid pace.

DonM435
2015-Oct-02, 01:45 AM
If anything is actively moving in the shot, well, that's really big news. :scope:

I was only suggesting that some pile of sand happened to collapse or blow away while a scan (if indeed there is such a thing) happened to be processing its particular location.

Reality Check
2015-Oct-02, 02:25 AM
Mast Camera (http://msl-scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov/Instruments/Mastcam/) does vary its exposure times:

Exposure times are expected to vary from a few tens of msec to a couple of hundred msec, depending on the band-pass filter and the desired signal-to-noise ratio.
That implies at most 0.2 seconds for movement to happen when taking images. So some blurry patches in some images may be things like blowing dust or tumbling sand.
For the two images in question, kostas12ldb thinks that sand has been added. That is not an artefact - that is editing.

DonM435
2015-Oct-02, 02:38 AM
So, we could be seeing things absent in Moon photography, as there would be no atmosphere to blow things about (only the rare meteor strike)?

Reality Check
2015-Oct-02, 02:41 AM
We might for Mars photos - just not in these images.