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TOPIC: Is this footprint evidence of life?


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If you put the photo number into the new program I have written, you can see the thumbnails of the pictures taken within 2 minutes either side of this one. I am working on modifying the search to show thumbnails too. Dont know if it will be practical or not yet.

I really dont think that this is made by an animal as they generally turn around and round before they lie down and this area appears to be pressed flat all at the same level. For example, it does not look as if there are paw-prints, but more like a flat piece of metal(?) pressed down. The stones are all pressed in to the same depth.

Another idea which came to me is that there are types of crab which eat the soil and make 'soil balls'. I have posted pictures of this on this forum somewhere else in another thread. This may account for the areas of 'earthworks' we have seen in other photgraphs where it looks as if someone has gone along with a rake over the ground and scratched up the top surface. Much like you do to your lawn when you want to get the moss up from growing between the grass stalks. The blueberries do look as if they are kind-of furry, now this may be because they are droppings or because they are spore-type things.


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I think they were pressed into the sand by something.  Probably not anything from the rover since it is not uniform enough.  It reminds me of the depressions left when an animal beds down.  Not only are the "blueberries" pressed down but the soft sand is also pressed down with them.  Look at the texture of the sand around the print.  If you look at other pictures from the same sol or around the same sol you can see that this is fairly soft sand.  Another weird thing is that these micro shots are the only place you can see the blueberries, unlike other places where they have been found.  I looked at all the cams I could from that sol and some of the ones from other sol around the same time.  Hmm? 

Oppy front haz cam sol 443
oppy front haz cam 443.jpg


Oppy pan cam 443
oppy pan cam 443.jpg

Soft sand from oppy rear haz cam 439
oppy rear haz cam 439.jpg

Look at how fluffy the sand is around the depression.  It even looks like the sand has been pushed away in some areas.
oppy micro cam 443.jpg



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Experiment time?  :D

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The other thing I want to point out is that there are stones which have 'stuck' to the object that was placed there and have been removed WITH the object, leaving holes in the 'footprint. I have marked these on the following photo and I think it gives further evidence that this is NOT due to water.

As you can see the top stone (green arrow) to have been removed is more rectangular and the lower one (yellow arrow) is more spherical.

Of course, we all could be fussing over nothing as the Rover may have put its arm down into the wet sand and made the marks itself, but due to the instruments on the end, I should think this was not a planned exercise unless they wanter to photograph the wet soil/sand. We will never know. link to photo of removed stones from footprint





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I took the stitched photo and rotated it 180 degrees because I could not relate to it the other way. Then I started looking more closely at it and I began to notice a couple of strange things.

There are a number of blueberries/spherules which have similar holes or indentations in them. This suggests to me that they are either popping off a stalk like mushrooms might do, or else something is hatching out of them (now - there's a thought!)

The red line is where I consider the border of the 'footprint' as I have tried to draw the line around the blueberries or rocks which have been pushed into the soil.

The yellow arrows point to similar kind of holes/indentations. There are others but they are either in rocks which are not blueberries/spherules or they are not the same kind of shape.

The purple circle marks what I think may be the lowest point in this small area and where I would have expected water/fluid to pool if there was any.



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Yeah, still looks padded down as if by wet sand on a beach.  Just saying, it looks wet.

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1)Any further thoughts now we have the whole picture?
The depression was probably the result of interaction with a mechanical instrument. The soil may or may not be saturated.


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Yes, thats excellent. Thanks Marsrocks. It completely adds another dimension to the topic.

Now I think it may look like a mechanical part has been put there - rather than a footprint.
I do not think the RAT has that shape, but it may do?

Any further thoughts now we have the whole picture?

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Autostitch is pretty awesome.

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This was done using the free version of very easy to learn software called autostitch:

http://cvlab.epfl.ch/~brown/autostitch/autostitch.html

All you have to do is click on the multiple images that you want it to stitch and it does the rest automatically.






443autostitchmi.jpg

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SOWG DOCUMENTARIAN REPORT (OPPORTUNITY)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Executing wee hours of Sol 442

Planning for Sol 442

SOWG Chair: Ray Arvidson (Remote)

LTP Lead: Brad Jolliff (Remote)

SOWG Doc: Nick Tosca (Remote)

KOP: Bob Anderson

Notes from kickoff / SOWG:

Summary: This is a recovery sol in light of yestersol’s anomaly. MM reports that there was an unexpected reset (warm reboot) during 440 master (during 2nd MTES raster). Day is being devoted to give engineeting team time to research problem. At this point, the cause of the problem is not well understood. Received ODY DL last night (rec everything to pri 74). MTES 1st data product is ok, but 2nd did not collect. This sol will be a very light sol (if anything at all today) to allow engineering team to diagnose problem. Will be mainly atmospheric science w/ PCAM on magnets and albedo pan.

LTP notes: Our current position is still about a couple of hundred meters away from the northern edge of Erebus. The plan is to approach what looks like a “highway” of bright exposure (could be outcrop or just bright ripples), follow it along and image Erebus and assess where to go and what to do next. The best exposure/section of Erebus looks like its on the W wall.

Flash: ~311 Mbits available and 150 Mbits recommended max, but likely have much more of that in light of recent DM report. Probably around 700 Mbits avail for science for 442.

Still have a list of liens to take care of in coming sols, including: MB detector reconfig, MI on magnets, MI of solar array, MI photometry, Post-drive imaging to see how late we can image, IDD of cobble, Atmospheric PCAM observation.

The plan for the next several sols is as follows:

Sol 440 (Tues 04/19): Drive & MTES; Reset anomaly

Sol 441 (Wed 04/20): Off nominal (Recovery / engineering sol)

Sol 442 (Thu 04/21): Recovery / engineering sol; PCAM on magnets, atm science

Sol 443 (Fri 04/22): IDD; soil target of opportunity, MI, place APXS, mini-D/S

Sol 444 (Fri 04/22): IDD; APXS, MB

Sol 445 (Fri 04/22): IDD; MB, D/S

Sol 446 (Fri 04/25): Drive? To the etched terrain highway…

Skeleton/engineering: HGA window (DTE @ 10:30 for 30 min.). PM pass is 27Mbits (256k), (128k would get us 46 Mbits). Possibly DS to get in good shape for 3-sol plan.

Downlink assessment:

MI: Healthy. No new data.

Pancam: Healthy. Photometry observations. DD from 440 did not occur.

Mini-TES: Still acquiring data to assess anomaly. DP’s look like they ran successfully (w/o DL). Rec full DP’s from 440.

Mossbauer: Healthy. No new data. Not going to implement detector configuration change for a while, because it was done on MER-A (software problem). No gain in changing at the moment.

APXS: Healthy. No new data.

RAT: No new data.

Uplink planning: Observations mainly carry over from 440/441, including albedo plan.

Requested science activities:

Start Time

Observation

Comments

442 ENG PCAM Tau

Opacity measurement

422 PCAM magnets 13F

13 filter on capture and sweep magnets

442 albedo pan L1R1267

Albedo pan w/cal target

442 Pre ODY PCAM tau

Opacity measurement

442 Post ODY PCAM Presunset L4578R2478

Atmospheric monitoring

SAW 443 PCAM tau

Opacity measurement

SAW 443 PCAM survey sky HIGH SUN

Atmospheric monitoring

AM 443 PCAM horizon survey

Atmospheric monitoring

Total data acquired during plan: 63.28 Mbits

Data DL during plan: 26.85 Mbits



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I don't know if this helps much - but here is the sol summary for opp 443:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mer/daily.cfm?date=4&year=2005

Daily Update - 4/29/05

Digging into Dunes
Opportunity Status for sol 443-446

Opportunity used the spectrometers on its arm to examine the soil where the rover stayed for six sols, then resumed driving on sol 446. However, the drive ended after 40 meters when Opportunity was crossing a dune and dug into it. Engineers are using a test rover to evaluate options for getting off the dune.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 443 (ending on April 23, 2005):
IDD campaign! We started off by unstowing the instrument deployment device -- the robotic arm -- and performing a joint stare of the sky using the microscopic imager and panoramic camera. We then changed tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and collected data for 5 hours and 41 minutes about the composition of the soil in front of the rover.


Opportunity performed a long IDD campaign over the weekend on sols 443-445, then resumed driving on sol 446.  However, the drive ended after approximately 40 meters while driving in the dunes.

Concerns

1) Opportunity is currently in soft dune material. Analysis is currently being performed to determine a proper egress route. We do not plan to drive until next week, at the earliest.
2) Diagnostics will continue with the right front steering actuator to further characterize the problem. The right front steering actuator is currently been set to disabled on-board the rover.
3) Sol 440's software reset is still under investigation.


Engineering Requests

 

Summary

Sol 443:IDD campaign!  We started off by unstowing the IDD and performing a joint stare of the sky using the Microscopic Imager and pancam.  We then changed tools to the APXS and integrated for 5hr41min on the soil in front of us.
Sol 444:We deep slept overnight, and woke up to perform a sky survey while the sun was high in the sky. We then changed tools to the Mossbauer and started a long 31 hour integration on the soil.
Sol 445:We did not deep sleep overnight in order to keep the Mossbauer integration running. Today was devoted to continued Mossbauer integration on the soil. At last, we stopped the Mossbauer integration at 23:12, and deep slept for the night.
Sol 446:(From R. Welch) We planned a drive of about 90 meters today. After driving about 40 meters, Opportunity dug into soft dune material, impeding further progress. Imaging indicates all four corner wheels have dug in by more than a wheel radius as the rover attempted to climb over a dune about 30 centimeters tall. Opportunity is healthy and in a stable configuration but further analysis is needed to understand this event and plan future driving. Over next several sols, Opportunity will focus on remote sensing while on Earth a series of testbed runs are in progress to simulate terrain interaction and evaluate different egress options.
Sol 447:We performed detailed remote sensing to support drive analysis, including a high fidelity front and rear hazcam, pancam imaging of the left and right tracks, and a pancam of the rippled dunes.
Sol 448:We performed additional remote sensing today.  We used the pancam to acquire drive direction imaging of our far tracks where we performed a successful "K-Turn" at the start of the drive on sol 446.  In addition, we acquired another pancam of the right track, and a navcam covering 360 degrees of the near deck of the rover.

My summary:

in situ observations of "cure" soil sample - may be watching soil over time to see what changes can be noted in the course of the day - about to drive over soft dunes. I can't tell if this could have been caused by apxs or not.



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1)Actually, I am working on other mars-related stuff at the moment so it may have to wait.
That's fine.
2)How about you really get involved and find post some pictures and links to the photos either side?
In any case, I have doubts we will find an image of the same area aside from this one.  You said you might stitch together a larger image, so I leave that to you if you do it, and if you don't, what I see here satisfies me enough.


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Actually, I am working on other mars-related stuff at the moment so it may have to wait.

How about you really get involved and find post some pictures and links to the photos either side?

This could be a very interesting discovery if it could be shown that it was either water pooling or a footprint. Maybe even if we could find another camera view of the area where this is taken, it would aid in our determining the liklihood of water lying there or show further footprints. Who knows?



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1)More than one?? I think we are lucky to have one. Having a whole beach-full of footprints is asking too much.
I know it's asking much, but it would pretty much prove they were footprints if there were more than one.

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More than one?? I think we are lucky to have one. Having a whole beach-full of footprints is asking too much.
Besides the view of the MI is very limited anyway and I do not think "they" would allow us to see footprints if they were taken by the other cameras.

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Anyway...on with the evidence w00t.gif

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I'm sure my opinion would change if you were to do that and show me more than one print.

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I wonder if I can stitch the photos together and show what the overall imprint looks like. Maybe I will try that later on today. It is unfortunate that we will not be able to get any 'official' opinion on this. I feel that NASA probably wondered what had caused this too as they do not just take holiday snaps with an expensive camera, but probably need to justify to someone why each photo was taken. The pds version of this photo above is here

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Never mind, then.

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1)Now... this is my hypothesis, whats yours?
Even if it is a footprint, it still is also evidence of water in the area. The footprint isn't all over the image. The saturation evidence is. If it is a footprint, then we must have an explanation as to why someone was trodding (which Google Chrome strangely does not recognize as an actual word) around the area wearing human-made shoes (or why any human was there at all, or what was walking around there). I never said it absolutely could not be a footprint, just adding onto what you said with what Iceman said- water is involved in the preservation of that imprint.

2)...opening our minds to other possibilities is what we are here for - or maybe it isn't?
Open minds are good, in my opinion of course. I never meant to negate the possibility it was a footprint, and if I did, there is no edit feature for us lowly members, for obvious reasons. I like you. You are not writing me off as closed-minded, and you are not putting too much faith in me either. But opinions on each other does not further discussion. I feel that we must be open to new ideas, but not irrational. So if it is a footprint, we need to find out who or what made that print. I can tell it appears pushed down in that spot. By what? I don't know. But we are getting off topic, and I feel I have explained myself, so anything further on this should probably go back into the footprint thread/private messaging.


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Here was my reply to that, inconveniently written after you moved the post:

1)Now... this is my hypothesis, whats yours?
Even if it is a footprint, it still is also evidence of water in the area.  The footprint isn't all over the image.  The saturation evidence is.  If it is a footprint, then we must have an explanation as to why someone was trodding (which Google Chrome strangely does not recognize as an actual word) around the area wearing human-made shoes (or why any human was there at all, or what was walking around there).  I never said it absolutely could not be a footprint, just adding onto what you said with what Iceman said- water is involved in the preservation of that imprint.
2)...opening our minds to other possibilities is what we are here for - or maybe it isn't?
Open minds are good, in my opinion of course.  I never meant to negate the possibility it was a footprint, and if I did, there is no edit feature for us lowly members, for obvious reasons.  I like you.  You are not writing me off as closed-minded, and you are not putting too much faith in me either.  But opinions on each other does not further discussion.  I feel that we must be open to new ideas, but not irrational.  So if it is a footprint, we need to find out who or what made that print.  I can tell it appears pushed down in that spot.  By what?  I don't know.  But we are getting off topic, and I feel I have explained myself, so anything further on this should probably go back into the footprint thread/private messaging.


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I would like to say now that my skepticism is due in large part to the fact that if I were to have to convince an average person of, say, liquid water on Mars, I would need evidence that undoubtedly proves that water is present in liquid form. Then I would have to figure out what the temperatures are in that location. If we know it was water, then we would know that the temperatures in the surrounding area were probably somewhere between 0 degrees to 100 degrees Celsius. We would also be able to estimate atmospheric pressure (and density?). Then we would have to look at figuring out where the water came from if it were on the surface. The most probable candidate would be from melted ice, creating what you see here:


However, one may argue that perhaps the water came in the form of precipitation. Then we have to prove that water vapor clouds exist on Mars.

And it goes on and on from there. You can make some interesting hypotheses, but unless you can either test them yourself (e.g. go to Mars) or get enough verifiable, virtually conclusive evidence, you cannot convince a hardened skeptic. And rightly so, unless of course they try to completely ignore the subject, which I find rather irrational.


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qmantoo
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The point being that there is plenty of evidence of life on Mars as in photos of beings in 'shelters', of machines(whether past or presently used), of fungus in various shapes, of reptiles(snakes), of paths and roads.

So why not footprints?

The depression shown in this photograph has steep sides which CANNOT be made by water pooling in this area. The soil is fairly obviously pressed down in that area and not in adjoining areas which is what you would expect from a footprint depression.

Now... this is my hypothesis, whats yours?

I agree that water is a more acceptable idea than a footprint (because of the implications it generates), but opening our minds to other possibilities is what we are here for - or maybe it isn't?


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And how do you account for the fact of the steep sides to the depression?
How do you account for the depression itself?

Maybe you just cannot arrive at the belief of it being a footprint, but taken together with other evidence on here, it is just as likely a footprint as water pooling.

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So no, I actually agree with Iceman here.

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1)This post must have provoked some thoughts for you so maybe you offer an alternative opinion or agree with iceman with the frozen water theory? I would be interested to hear any more theories as to what may have caused this.
It did.  I felt that it was one of those moments where even a skeptic just sits there looking at it with disbelief.  It appears to me, at least, that irrelevant of what caused this, this is almost certain evidence of soil saturated with something in the recent past.  And really, what liquids could that be?  It is not staining the ground to our knowledge, correct?  So it is more likely a clear liquid that can hold these grains of dirt together.

Question: Can other liquids hold sand or soil together like that?  It looks damp to me.


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haha a standard media trick! Hook your reader in the title! I am practicing my titles, can't you see? smile.gif

No, I really do think this is why NASA photographed it as the small stones are pressed into the sand, they do not all have the soil shrunk away from them as if the water in the soil had frozen and thawed. This leads me to think that this frozen soil idea may not be the reason why we see the small stones pressed into the soil. Taking this together with the edges having a definite indented border suggests that something has pressed them down.

This post must have provoked some thoughts for you so maybe you offer an alternative opinion or agree with iceman with the frozen water theory? I would be interested to hear any more theories as to what may have caused this.

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I know, I know. I just felt misled. Interesting anyway.

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Martian Meteorite Reveals Ancient Water Flows, Methane

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different title? maybe, yes, but I see a footprint, not evidence of water.

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These are the types of things I like to see.  Real interesting evidence.  I would have picked a different title though, but meh, you didn't know.

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Thankyou Iceman, this is really useful and informative.

I will try to do more work on this area and see if there is a pattern to it. If there is not, then we can assume that this is evidence for frozen water/thawed ice on Mars. I wonder what a NASA scientist would say and whether they have another explanation which would account for this patch without either of our theories. Somehow, I doubt we will get an answer from them though.

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More about frozen ground.

This is very important because it shows that the soil in the area contains significant amounts of water, it also shows that these effects are working (frost and defrost) because the sand would otherwise have long ago cut off that evidence.

This evidence is very strong in light of physical principles for which their unique physical phenomena.

How does frozen ground affect buildings?

Constructing lasting buildings on frozen ground is difficult. Huge layers of ice can grow underground and thicken over time. When ice forms underground, it expands. This can make the ground move, causing frost heave. Frost heave lifts up the ground, as well as everything on top of it.

 

Figure 3. This damaged building in Dawson City, Canada, shows what can happen when the warm interior of a building causes the permafrost underneath to thaw.

—Credit: Andrew Slater

Building on permafrost is also challenging. Buildings that are heated from the inside give off heat. The heat can thaw the permafrost underneath the building. Once the permafrost thaws, it sinks, damaging the building it supports (Figure 3).

dawson_buildings_4_DSlater_small.jpg

Figure 3. This damaged building in Dawson City, Canada, shows what can happen when the warm interior of a building causes the permafrost underneath to thaw.
—Credit: Andrew Slater

Engineers sometimes solve this problem by preventing the ground under the building from getting warm. They put the building on top of a steel frame, a few feet above the ground, so cold air can flow under the house. The cold air stops the permafrost from thawing. Another way to stop damage from thawing permafrost is to thaw the ground first. This method makes the ground more stable to build on. Then there is no danger of the ground beneath the new structure refreezing, because the structure keeps the ground from freezing.

Source:

http://nsidc.org/frozenground/people.html



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When water freezes, it expands in volume by about 9%, and that shows up here as the upper layer of wet soil froze, it expanded in all directions, pulling away uniformly from two large cobbles of quartzite. It almost makes it look like the quartzite cobbles shrunk in their "sockets," but really it's the "sockets" that got larger. This is without a doubt evidence of water saturated soil. In a desert, where sand is virtually moisture less do we see no signs of frost inflammation caused by frost inflammatory.

qmantoo thanks for the grate job you are doing.



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Could this be evidence of surface water and ice ?


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3210427082_5da949d51e_o.jpg
 link:
http://www.nvcc.edu/home/cbentley/geoblog/labels/mammals.html

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I see that nobody here is willing to assume that other than they themselves have experienced of a similar phenomenon here on earth, but remember that I am describing similarity, I'm not saying that this is not this or that.

smiley_lol.gif

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OK, I accept this is possibly the answer, but this is assuming water on Mars and in the picture there is a fairly definite outline with some areas showing a lowering of the level of the soil. It has a a border as if something heavier than ice/water was there. It also assumes there is enough water to cause pooling and not just surface frost because this area is reasonably well defined. There are other examples on different Sols of these areas that look like footprints too. Of course, these examples could be water frozen around blueberries too.

I would be very interested if you can you show me an example so that I can compare this feature to when the water freezes around the rocks please?

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Effects like this can be seen when water freezes around the rocks and soil rises due to frosts since the soil thaw the water evaporates and that becomes the result.

freezes effect 1.jpgfreezes effect 2.jpg

 



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I was looking at this fairly boring picture and it suddenly struck me that the 'blueberries' have been pushed into the ground and there is a fairly visible object shape in the soil.

Link here

I have not investigated it further yet, but we should be able to work out roughly how large/heavy this being was - if it is a footprint.

Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions, but in a barren land, what else would push the blueberries into the soil and then leave again - apart from a Rover's wheel or RAT or some other part of the rover? Sol 443

What do you think?

What is the size measurement of the field of view, does anyone know?
500xfootprint.JPG




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