Indeed, this is curious. Good job on the post.
Setting aside all other concerns, I am dubius in the extreme as to the nature of the photos themselves. The area shown in the first photo, with the potential fossil in it, is quite obviously not the same location shown in the photo of the RAT hole in the second photo.
Am I correct in understanding that these are supposed to be two photos of the same rock, and the same location on that rock; one taken before and one after the RAT session?
Do your own research ...
http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html are the 6885 raw Opportunity images .... Perhaps a PF member will find the one purportedly posted at the start of this thread? Then we can see for ourselves what the image actually shows ...
Thats where you should stop reading. He's a cracpot extrordonaire, and I don't use the term lightly.
If you're really curious, Bad Astronomy has a thorough debunking of him HERE
These pictures looks almost as reliable as the satelite photos showing Iraq´s weapons of mass destruction...=)
Re: Do your own research ...
Perhaps I am mistaken, but the web site offered from the original poster to this thread has a web link showing those exact pictures: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity_m034.html
It appears to be a legitimate web site from JPL, but am I wrong?
Neried, I also found the image through the site you gave. It is under "Microscopic Imager", then Sol 34
Could be wrong, but from the ACTUAL JPL/NASA Sol 34 raw data image, I must admit that it sure as hell has the resemblance of a fossilized structure of some sort.
a) If the structure in the piccie looks like some kind of fossil, how could we we further test the idea?
b) from *other* observations of the rock in question, or nearby rocks, what can be said about how the rocks (and structure) were formed?
I suppose a good first test would be to visually compare it with known earth fossils to establish parameters of commonality, but I do not know the proper procedures in accurately establishing the claim of "fossil"
Indeed, my first impressions left me somewhat awe struck, as the pic definitely shows a conical spiral structure of some sort.
It certainly is one of two things: Either it is a fossil, or it is a geological structure unrelated to organic fossilization; that is, perhaps a geologic structure formed in the presence of liquids and shaped due to the way various minerals might interact under those conditions.
So, perhaps this is a type of non-fossil structure that helped lead NASA to infer the past presence of liquid water at that location. I would assume that they have an opinion on this pic, after all, it is rather dramatic.
<<<<Thats where you should stop reading. He's a cracpot extrordonaire, and I don't use the term lightly.
If you're really curious, Bad Astronomy has a thorough debunking of him HERE>>>>>>
lot of visionaries , rebels etc have been called "crackpot" in their times so that in itself may be a contrary indicator
on the other hand show me fraud and thats a different matter
No, thats a cop out. What determines whether someone is a crackpot isn't the ideas but the way they are investigated.
There is plenty of fraud detailed in the BA debunking I linked.
But isn't it equally important to compare it with structures that we expect - nay, know - form in sedimentary conditions? After all, why are "fossils" more important/likely/etc than, say, sculptures by Rodin? or ice-creams from Streets?
Why just these two things? Why not lava formations, or differential crystalisation in a magma? or wind-blown 'sand' subsequently compacted by meteor-driven shock-waves? Surely the *first* thing is to establish how the rocks formed, then work out how the structure arose?
Yes, it would be wonderful to know what professional geologists on the teams think about the formation! I expect they'll publish their views in peer-reviewed journals before too long, abstracts of which we will all be able to read and debate.
AFAIK, it was the chemical composition of the rocks, together with the extensive presence of vugs, that were most persuasive in the 'soaked in water' conclusions.
I believe all of those fall under the title :"geological structure unrelated to organic foosilisation".
I just got back from studying the pictures in the page linked above, and I can say with a high degree of certainty that one of two things has happened:
1) The first three pics on the page and the last three are of two different rocks (or different locations on the same rock), or
2) The object in question was not effected by the RAT.
Take a look at the locations of the RAT holes. In the first three images, before the RAT session, another "fossil" can be seen; a three-toed footprint in a cavity about 1/3 of the way up the right-hand border of the image. This same feature is identical in all three "before" images. It is nowhere to be seen in the three "After" images.
Possibility #1 postulates that RATting moved the rover a little, and we're looking at a different location on the rock ( this seems less likely to me, since NASA took great pains to get "Before" and After" photos fo the same spot).
#2 allows that the image could be the same location made to appear different by the lighting later in the Sol. If this is correct, then look at the locations of the RAT holes in the "After" photos. The spot where the proposed "fossil" was located in the Before photos has not been RATted! This means that the "Fossil on Mars" dissapears when the lighting shifts, just like the "Face on Mars".
I suppose it should also be pointed out that Hoaglin's "After" photo is actually a Pan-Cam image taken on Sol 37. Even in his own bfore and after images, which he posts on his site, it can be seen that the area in question was not touched by the RAT.
"blueberries" are haematite concretions
... not crinoid pods!
"In light of all the other evidence, it seems clear that Meridiani Planum was an area that had ample ground water: enough to form and excrete hematite from the rocks. Opportunity was sent to Meridiani to look for this mineral. Not only has the rover found it, scientists know how it formed and what state it is in. "
Well the "blueberries" got shot down pretty fast.
Staggering how NASA can be sure it is hematite, from Earth.
They are so very uncertain of everything else.
its fun to look at these things and wonder no matter what they turn out to be
I'm convinced anyway. I bet there is life there still.
Separate names with a comma.