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sarongsong
2003-May-28, 10:32 PM
http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/display/MGSC_1232/e17014/e1701475.imq.jpg
(424KB)

Archer17
2003-May-29, 01:09 AM
The following link might explain this: http://www.chron.com/content/interactive/space/astronomy/news/1999/solarsys/990811.html

sarongsong
2003-May-29, 01:59 AM
Excellent shot, Archer17:
"..."Since this whole area is at about minus 150 degrees Celsius, these are clearly not plants growing up out of the frost, but something else is happening," said Mike Malin, who is responsible for the camera aboard the spacecraft...".
Wonder what Mr. Malin is up to now.

BigJim
2003-May-29, 02:34 AM
What do you mean? Those are not plants. The pressure is Mars is about 10 mbar, the temperature is over 100 degrees below Celsius most of the time, and most of Mars is quite dry. In addition, it receives little sunlight and has no ozone layer. Almost everything we know about biology seems to go against the idea that these are plants. Why is it not frost? Offer proof.

sarongsong
2003-May-29, 02:43 AM
The topic is a question not a statement, Big Jim.

DStahl
2003-May-29, 03:25 AM
Fascinating picture! Those black shapes do look somewhat like pointed alpine fir trees, don't they. Look very closely: some of them seem to have shadows that point down the sunlit face of the dunes...but if they really were shadows, they would point the other way. Some others do seem to have shadows that point properly away from the sun, though, and still others don't make sensible tree-shapes to my eyes at all.

But certainly no plant as we know it could survive the conditions at the place those pics were taken--far colder than the coldest part of Antarctica, and much less atmosphere than at the summit of Everest.

sarongsong, do you know what the scale of the image is? The article linked said only that the dunes are roughly on the scale of those in the Mojave Desert, which would make the streaks maybe 10 to 30 feet long?

DStahl
2003-May-29, 04:02 AM
Let's see if I can post this picture from the Terraserver server...

http://terraserver-usa.com/tile.ashx?t=1&s=10&x=2876&y=23749&z=10

It IS of plant life, at a bit less than 8000 feet elevation on the southeast side of Crater Lake, Oregon. The trees are almost certainly stunted lodgepole pine growing on coarse pumice. The resolution is about 1 meter. I can certainly see how reasonable it is to interpret dark shapes as vegetation!

Archer17
2003-May-29, 05:48 AM
sarongsong wondered:

Wonder what Mr. Malin is up to now.
Glad you wondered that! :D .. Mike Malin is currently CEO and Chief Scientist at Malin Space Science Systems .. here's a link to his site: http://www.msss.com/ :wink:

sarongsong
2003-May-29, 07:37 AM
Thanks again---now for the curious part---a physical address for his company?

beskeptical
2003-May-29, 09:13 AM
That is a great picture. I'll buy the ice story because the structures seem to be on the peaks of each sand dune feature. Plants would be less likely to grow in that pattern.

But......very interesting.... there is the very tiniest possibility it is something we have not encountered so we are trying to fit it into what we know and it doesn't really match up.

Argos
2003-May-29, 12:24 PM
Since nobody explains it, here´s my try:

The shapes could be some kind of frozen mud. The sand mixes with water just bellow the surface, forming the spikes which are subsequently exposed by the wind.

ToSeek
2003-May-29, 03:47 PM
Thanks again---now for the curious part---a physical address for his company?

Malin Space Science Systems
P.O. Box 910148
San Diego, CA 92191-0148

tracer
2003-May-30, 01:07 AM
Since nobody explains it, here´s my try:

The shapes could be some kind of frozen mud. The sand mixes with water just bellow the surface, forming the spikes which are subsequently exposed by the wind.
Was that picture taken with the Mars Global Surveyor's cameras pointed straight downward? If so, there's no reason to assume that those spikey-looking shapes actually extend vertically for any distance. They might be just very narrow triangular or diamond-shaped patches of dark material lying flat on the Martian surface.

sarongsong
2003-May-30, 01:16 AM
"einkanter" was a word in today's C-SPAN National Spelling Bee coverage; a geologic term to describe a kind of wind-driven rock formation, pictured here:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?U1F323FB4