Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Journal of Cosmology Contributor Sues NASA To Investigate Mars "Donut"

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the chewbacca-hungers-for-donut-fungus dept.

Mars 140

An anonymous reader writes "Rhawn Joseph, a self-described astrobiologist involved with the infamous Journal of Cosmology, is suing NASA, demanding 100 high-resolution photos and 24 micrographs be taken of the 'donut' rock that recently appeared in front of the Opportunity rover on Mars, on the basis that it is a living organism. The remarkable full text of the complaint, which cites NASA's mineralogical analysis of the rock as evidence against it being a rock, is available to read at Popular Science." Really, the lawsuit is worth a read.

cancel ×

140 comments

I know who to send to investigate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101301)

Doh!!

Very funny. (1, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46101303)

Very funny, this makes my day on /.

DO NOT TRY AT HOME (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101349)

As it turns out, anal bleaching should be left to the pros.

Re:Very funny. (2)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 5 months ago | (#46101445)

This reminds me of the time Julia Childs sued Neil Armstrong because he bring back samples of the strain of cheese composing the moon.

Re:Very funny. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101703)

This reminds *me* of why I hate niggers. But then, everything reminds me of why I hate niggers.

Re: Very funny. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102475)

Because you are a racist?

Re:Very funny. (4, Funny)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46101669)

Very funny, this makes my day on /.

You won't be laughing when this guy wins his lawsuit, and we all find out that this "rock" is a piece of styrofoam knocked loose from one of the props in the back lot of Disney Studios. John Carter of Mars [wikipedia.org] was filmed to provide a cover story for the Martian landscape used for the faked rover landings. There is no other plausible explanation for that movie.

Re:Very funny. (4, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46101953)

Actually, the fact that it was filmed on location is the only plausible explanation for its budget.

Re:Very funny. (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#46103019)

You won't be laughing when this guy wins his lawsuit, and we all find out that this "rock" is a piece of styrofoam

Actually, NASA would do well to drive the Rover back there and study the hell out of it, if nothing else than to put the whack-job conspiracy nuts to shame. Opportunity is probably less than a day's drive away by now, and after 10 years beyond its expected life it has probably done about all the science it needs to do.

If it is simply kicked up by the rover's wheels, lets find out why it is so bright/white. If it rolled in from a meteor strike, it might be useful to see what direction it rolled in from. But in no situation can I see it being helpful to start another conspiracy and just write it off as the ramblings of uneducated buffoons.

Some of the imagery does suggest that they put the instrument arm over the object for close-up observation, so maybe they should move it, turn it over, or drill it, just to shut these guys up.

Re:Very funny. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46103345)

Actually, NASA would do well to drive the Rover back there and study the hell out of it, if nothing else than to put the whack-job conspiracy nuts to shame. Opportunity is probably less than a day's drive away by now

Quite a bit "less" than a day's drive away, since they haven't driven away yet.

Re:Very funny. (3, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 5 months ago | (#46103589)

Actually, NASA would do well to drive the Rover back there and study the hell out of it, if nothing else than to put the whack-job conspiracy nuts to shame.

You're assuming that whack-job conspiracy nuts can be shamed, an idea which is not supported by the evidence.

Re:Very funny. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#46103701)

Everybody has their pet theory.

I think it's evidence that the martian police pulled the rover over for driving too slow.

holycost witness refutes scripted version (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101357)

"“The blockade was sudden and unexpected, as much as the war itself was unexpected for the country. There were no reserves of fuel, no food... Then one after another catastrophic event started to occur, power supplies were stopped, there was no water, no sewerage system operating, no central heating in place..."

Granin was 22 when he volunteered to join the Red Army and became a tank officer. He said he enrolled “probably out of pure boyish lust for romance.”

http://rt.com/news/granin-nazi-siege-survivor-360/

Re:holycost witness refutes scripted version (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101393)

Granin was 22 when he volunteered to join the Red Army and became a tank officer. He said he enrolled “probably out of pure boyish lust for romance.”

He could join the Navy if he wanted to have lust and romance ... with other men!

They often share beds you know. Why do you think they call it hot bunking??

results never vary very few standing ovations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101619)

even the 'winners' have problems http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk9mV8qBiEk homecoming war hero http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=scott%20olsen&sm=3 who received less than nothing

Re:holycost witness refutes scripted version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101859)

I realize that I'm probably feeding a troll - but you're an idiot. You weren't man enough to pass the physical, so now you want to dump on the servicemen who did serve. And, you're probably one of those queer baits who hung around the peers, hitting on sailors, hoping for a date. You're just another pathetic loser, dude.

scripted pr 'firm' hitler clones abound on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101985)

another daze in paradise

Re:holycost witness refutes scripted version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102287)

who hung around the peers

I think you'll only find peers around the pirate bays. I'm pretty sure anyone who was qualified to serve would know to head for the pier instead --- so, that means you're, um, --- wanna go out?

great idea (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 5 months ago | (#46101403)

NASA will send Inspector Gadget up there right away

Re:great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102053)

It's a Donut. Send Homer Simpson!

Re:great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102489)

Better send Clancy Wiggum as well. Cops know donuts like the back of their hands.

Yawn... (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#46101407)

Translation: Some attention whoring quack is going to waste taxpayer money and NASA time to no good end.

Re:Yawn... (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 5 months ago | (#46101577)

Yeah, he ought to be suing those incompetents down in continuity.

A waste of time, really? (2)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 5 months ago | (#46101841)

Dr. Squyres and his team have already chosen to spend lots of time and effort investigating this object.

How would releasing this data to the public, through existing channels that have already conveyed thousands of photos to the public, be a waste of NASA's time?

NASA has already acknowledged that this is "a very special rock, with rare properties." Therefore, shouldn't it, at a matter of course, release more data about this rock than it releases about the average Mars rock?

Re:A waste of time, really? (4, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 5 months ago | (#46101909)

Rhawn Joeseph is trying to bully NASA into giving him access to the science data without having to wait for the mission scientists to publish their findings. There are procedures in place and Rhawn will just have to wait like everyone else.

Re:A waste of time, really? (1, Interesting)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46102131)

Why are those procedures in place? It's public data, why can't the public see it as soon as NASA gets it?

Re:A waste of time, really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102293)

Just from the depths of my armchair: perhaps because the data comes in formats that are completely useless to the public, and it takes time for NASA to decompress/deconvert/decrypt/convolve/whatever them? Maybe they can do their own analysis with the data in a raw-ish format, but to give us the real numbers and sort out the metadata flags that say "This sensor is currently busted" takes more time?

Already public [Re:A waste of time, really?] (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46103553)

Why are those procedures in place? It's public data, why can't the public see it as soon as NASA gets it?

The public does see it as soon as NASA gets it. All images are uploaded to marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/ [nasa.gov] as soon as they are received.

The Exploratorium also has a feed of the raw images as soon as they come down: http://www.exploratorium.edu/m... [exploratorium.edu]

Just from the depths of my armchair: perhaps because the data comes in formats that are completely useless to the public, and it takes time for NASA to decompress/deconvert/decrypt/convolve/whatever them?

The raw images are uploaded within a day of when they get received. As you note, these are raw images, and there's some processing needed to make pretty images suitable for public release: flat-field corrections, photometric and geometric corrections, as well as turning the individual frames into mosaics and color-corrected images, which takes more time. (There are also sometimes some dropped packets, and if you get the images right from the raw downlink, they won't have retransmitted the dropped bits yet.)

However, you don't have to wait for NASA to do all of that: there are some amateur groups that do image processing on the raw images, and do a pretty good job of making high-quality images, too.

Maybe they can do their own analysis with the data in a raw-ish format, but to give us the real numbers and sort out the metadata flags that say "This sensor is currently busted" takes more time?

Yes; all that gets uploaded onto the planetary data system (pds.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov] ), including all the metadata, but that does take a while, since this is fully calibrated data.

Re:A waste of time, really? (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 5 months ago | (#46102305)

Why are those procedures in place? It's public data, why can't the public see it as soon as NASA gets it?

The data is public data and anybody is free to intercept the 1s and 0s streaming back from Mars. OTOH, converting those 1s and 0s to images is costly and time consuming. Expediting the process is even more costly and time consuming and means either additional staff will be needed or people will be pulled off of other tasks.

So the question is whether or not the access to this information is more important than whatever information will be delayed by diverting resources to obtain it more quickly? The answer depends on whether you want this piece of information or you are still in the queue.

Re:A waste of time, really? (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#46103135)

Costly and time consuming?

Really, you are going with that?

The 90 day mission has stretched to 10 years. They somehow found money to keep these guys employed all those years, they are on the payroll till the rover dies.

What other random thing in the drive-able vicinity is likely to be MORE interesting? This Rover has accomplished just about all it can possibly do with its worn out tools, aging batteries, lame wheels, etc. There is probably nothing more interesting than this rock, and spending the effort (which surely they must be very well practiced and efficient at, considering the ten years they have had to perfect their craft) to evaluate it and release the data is no big deal.

You can go to the JPL site and search all the photos [nasa.gov] , so its not like they don't have more to give.

Re:A waste of time, really? (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#46103203)

They have been imaging the thing for days. So apparently they have plenty of time and money:

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gall... [nasa.gov]

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gall... [nasa.gov]

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gall... [nasa.gov]

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gall... [nasa.gov]

Re:A waste of time, really? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#46102663)

As a sop to the scientists who, as the public's proxy, have spent years or decades working on the instrument that gathered the data. They took the risk to their careers, and as member of the public I have no problem with giving them first crack at reaping the rewards.

Re:A waste of time, really? (0)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#46103251)

Yeah, working for NASA and JPL ten years on a 90 day mission has a lot of risk to their careers.
Really? Nobody is "risking their careers" working on the single most prestigious off-world project in existence.

The (many years worth of images), it takes time for all of them to be transmitted. [nasa.gov]
Other data may not so readily interpreted, but its not like it would be totally beyond other scientists to evaluate it.

Re:A waste of time, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102243)

> Rhawn Joeseph is trying to bully NASA into giving him access to the science data without having to wait for the mission scientists to publish their findings

Bully is a strange way to characterize suing. He's looking for a legal avenue. There's no threat that is implicit with a failure to perform. I think his argument of "but I want to see it based on what I imagine" is perfectly sound on the basis of a citizen looking for disclosure of NASA findings as a public work. Maybe the process of independent discovery would somehow cloud the official discovery, but I suspect we're going to hear National Security Interests instead. That's an important reveal, regardless of intent.

You should read the complaint... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102617)

Rhawn is bullying NASA for the simple fact that he wants the data, and if NASA agrees that the item is biological in nature, then he wants the court to force NASA to have Rhawn as first author on its publications regarding this item. In other words, he wants the prestige of being a researcher in a project he had no hands in, and wants all the credit for a find he didn't find.

Re:A waste of time, really? (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 5 months ago | (#46102257)

Dr. Squyres and his team have already chosen to spend lots of time and effort investigating this object.

How would releasing this data to the public, through existing channels that have already conveyed thousands of photos to the public, be a waste of NASA's time?

NASA has already acknowledged that this is "a very special rock, with rare properties." Therefore, shouldn't it, at a matter of course, release more data about this rock than it releases about the average Mars rock?

NASA should comply, thus saving the legal fees, right after he pays the share of the cost to obtain the information he is requesting. The Freedom of Information Act doesn't mean the government foots the bill for the requested info.

Re:A waste of time, really? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46102981)

NASA should comply, thus saving the legal fees, right after he pays the share of the cost to obtain the information he is requesting. The Freedom of Information Act doesn't mean the government foots the bill for the requested info.

That really does seem the most reasonable course of action.

The ball's in the government's court now, let's see what they do with it.

Re:A waste of time, really? (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 5 months ago | (#46103447)

They don't have to release the info when he wants it, assuming they have it in the first place. Remember, he's not asking for the release of photos they already have, he's demanding they take a 100 new high res closeup images following his instructions, and 24 microscopic images, also as per his instructions.

The Freedom of Information Act has nothing to do with his demands, it only covers information the government has, not stuff that hasn't even been done.

He's not a NASA administrator, supervisor, project lead, project member, or any other kind of NASA employee of any kind. He has the same authority to demand these things as any other American citizen, zero.

That rock is interesting and unique, but then again, so is every other rock they check out. Since it has wildly different mineral levels than most of the others, it would be very interesting, at least for geologists & mineralogists, to have a more detailed examination of that rock, but whether or not it will happen depends on the limited resources they have available, and if it shoots to the top of the priority list. There are a lot of things there that the scientists on the team are jonesing to check out.

Is it life? Um, no. That's not an absolute, but the probability of that rock being a life form is less than you winning the lottery and getting hit by lightning.
Does Mars have life? Maybe. Of course there's also the chance that Mars had life, but it's all extinct now. Sure, a probe might find it, but they are not well equipped to find or analyse that kind of thing. At this current time, it would be a task optimally performed by a human on Mars with appropriate tools. Skilled humans are very effective, capable of dealing with unknown situations, and not crippled by a 30 minutes time delay with every instruction. Actual time varies depending on orbital positions of both Mars and Earth. This is also assuming 2 way communication, sending instruction, receiving reply that instruction was received and possibly resultant data.

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101979)

Indeed it is a waste. Suing the government always works so well...

Re:Yawn... (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 5 months ago | (#46102365)

No look at the zoomed-in exhibit B. You clearly see regular patterns. These must be a sign of life.

Re:Yawn... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#46103355)

My gosh, you are right. The closer I zoom the more regular the pattern gets.
Its a grid of various shaded squares, like people in a stadium holding up cardboard squares to build a huge image...
Wait, zooming up more it says, "Sochi 2014"
Ah, crap, Damn you Putin !!!

I See Nothing!!! (1)

atouk (1336461) | about 5 months ago | (#46101417)

Von Braun may have designed the rockets, but Sgt. Schultz drives the rover. NASA has a history of "Look over there. Isn't that interesting!", "Lets go this way instead..."

Set plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101523)

Don't they have a set exploration plan?

The rover only has so much battery life until it needs to be solar recharged, they have set experiments, etc ...

I would guess that if something were really interesting, they'd make it part of another mission.

Re:Set plan (1)

atouk (1336461) | about 5 months ago | (#46101635)

Missions never go to the same area twice. And how can you stick to a set plan, when you don't have a clue to what's really there to begin with? It's the things they don't understand or expect that should get the most attention. Sure comparative geology is great for establishing a control baseline, but the real science is looking for the stuff that isn't expected.

Re:Set plan (1, Informative)

Hallow (2706) | about 5 months ago | (#46102093)

Power is not a problem. Curiosity is nuke powered, not solar, so it can run for about 14 years.
http://www.about-robots.com/cu... [about-robots.com]

Re:Set plan (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 5 months ago | (#46102329)

Power is not a problem. Curiosity is nuke powered, not solar, so it can run for about 14 years.
http://www.about-robots.com/cu... [about-robots.com]

True, assuming there aren't any malfunctions or (solar) radiation bursts. OTOH, to return to a site already investigated would surely seem a waste of resources, would it not?

Re:Set plan (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#46102777)

Power is still a problem for Curiosity since, the RTG does not provide the full power requirements to the rover in real-time. The rover runs off of a battery pack. The RTG is responsible for recharging the battery pack. Curiosity must periodically take breaks to allow for the RTG to catch up with the power consumed during the rover's active period. That said this is not Curiosity's problem (it is some distance away) this is Opportunity's discovery.

Re:I See Nothing!!! (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 5 months ago | (#46101701)

Kind of the entire point of having a little robot on Mars is to gander at each and every "interesting" thing they roll up to.

Rover isn't a full blown laboratory, it's a slightly smarter than dumb camera. It will die. Catalog all the interesting things you see before it does so, then send another robot tailored to inspect instead of find.

Re:I See Nothing!!! (1)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | about 5 months ago | (#46102301)

If it is alive, it likely won't BE there the next time we send a bot. The clock is ticking.

Re:I See Nothing!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102045)

Perhaps the scientists at NASA find different things interesting than you do. If it were up to the general public, we'd have rovers investigating every mountain that looks like a giant boob and every penis-shaped rock formation on Mars.

Re:I See Nothing!!! (1)

atouk (1336461) | about 5 months ago | (#46103423)

That's just ridiculous. Everyone knows the Boob Mountains are on Venus. The way you think, I'm glad you don't do mission planning for Uranus. Or do you?

since it suddenly appeared (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 5 months ago | (#46101427)

i think it is just some gunk picked up by the rover, it was buildup of dirt probably made sticky by water or grease or oil or some other fluid and it finally fell off the rover

Re:since it suddenly appeared (1)

atouk (1336461) | about 5 months ago | (#46101717)

If the rover had a fluids leak, then every time it stopped, it would leave a spot like a car with a bad transmission does on a driveway. And if it is a leak, then that's bad news for a long term mission, and NASA should be doubly concerned what it is to see how it will affect onboard systems, and modify rover behavior accordingly.

Re:since it suddenly appeared (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#46102905)

This isn't one of those glorious American autos from the mid-20th century. Opportunity doesn't leave a puddle under it ever time its parked nor do I see bottles of replacement fluids and magical self-sealing honeys in the trunk, nor a trail of empties strewn about behind it.

Not like they're in a hurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101451)

Seriously, why not get the data? It's an exploration drone, with no solid destination or timetable. If something is interesting, point every sensor you've got at it until it's boring.
If some loudmouth thinks something is interesting that you don't, it's really not like you're in a hurry, spend a day getting data and then go on your way again.

Re:Not like they're in a hurry (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#46101683)

The rover has a finite life until it fails. The donut has already been examined enough for NASA to think it's boring, and there are far more interesting goals further ahead that we'd like to reach before the wheels fall off, the power supply dies, or the sensors get too dusty to function.

Re:Not like they're in a hurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102175)

The rover has a finite life until it fails. The donut has already been examined enough for NASA to think it's boring, and there are far more interesting goals further ahead that we'd like to reach before the wheels fall off, the power supply dies, or the sensors get too dusty to function.

No, there are not. The rover was and is doing absolutely nothing but treading along uselessly. I would love this weren't true, trust me, but it is.

Re:Not like they're in a hurry (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46102665)

NASA's not taking advantage of public interest. They've obviously failed to communicate why they think it's so boring, and what the "far more interesting" goals are. They're acting like authoritarian school marms telling you what to be interested in.

Time is money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101711)

It cost $2.5 billion to send Curiosity up. Even assuming it gets 5 full years of operation - and something could go wrong well before that - that's over a million dollars a day. And that doesn't even consider the cost of the Earth-based teams that need to actually analyze the data. Wasting a million dollars because of some loudmouth doesn't seem like a great plan.

Re:Time is money (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46101989)

Wrong rover.

Re:Time is money (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46102533)

Responding to things that are interesting to the public is one way to increase funding. Instead, they come off as a bunch of prissy know-it-alls deciding that our interest is not worthy of their time.

Re:Not like they're in a hurry (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 5 months ago | (#46102357)

Seriously, why not get the data? It's an exploration drone, with no solid destination or timetable. If something is interesting, point every sensor you've got at it until it's boring.
If some loudmouth thinks something is interesting that you don't, it's really not like you're in a hurry, spend a day getting data and then go on your way again.

They basically already have done this and determined it was a rock. No matter how many times they send the rover back to the same spot, since the instruments on the rover haven't changed, what exactly do you expect to find different?

whoa! (2)

Rich_Lather (925834) | about 5 months ago | (#46101457)

Dude, that's a shroom!

Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101537)

It may not be a rock... it kind of looks metallic. I am willing to bet it's something that broke off the lander. When Curiosity landed the landing platform fired rockets to clear away from Curiosity and landed hard. Add the low gravity and the impact I am willing to bet that this is a piece of the lander.

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (0)

Vulch (221502) | about 5 months ago | (#46101663)

Did you even read the summary, never mind the article?

If so, kindly explain how a bit of the Curiosity landing system suddenly appeared in front of Opportunity.

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 5 months ago | (#46102399)

Did you even read the summary, never mind the article?

If so, kindly explain how a bit of the Curiosity landing system suddenly appeared in front of Opportunity.

Because it was made in the USA? I mean, how did a suitcase size piece of foam fall off the shuttle and hit a wing? It's not a smooth ride getting there or landing there and there are winds on Mars. It is quite conceivable that something was loosened and between the martian wind and the vibrations of the rover itself, it fell off.

Wouldn't that be a simpler and more reasonable explanation than NASA is covering up some huge discovery which would certainly get it all the funding it would ever want?

that whooshing sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102551)

Curiosity and Opportunity are DIFFERENT ROVERS! on pretty much opposite sides of mars... there is NO way any debris from Curiosity could land in front of Opportunity.

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46101987)

Add the low gravity ...

Holy shit:

Mars gravity:
3.711 m/s
( Earth is 9.78 m/s)

I was under the impression that Mars was just slightly less that Earth, something like 7.5 to 8.5 just like Venus at 8.87 m/s.

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46102029)

it is m/(s*s) /. ate the square symbol (2).

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (2)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#46102147)

Why on earth would you have that impression? Venus is 0.949 Earth diamaters and 0.82 Earth masses; Mars is only 0.532 Earth diamaters and 0.11 Earth masses. More to the point, did you not read all the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom (Mars) novels by age 10?

Re:Looks like a broken piece to a lander or rover (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 5 months ago | (#46102737)

I am not 10 year old yet you insensitive clod.

Maybe it is due to all all the hype and those stories about life on mars and what not while Venus seems much more interesting to me if we want to learn about our origins.

Thats no rock (5, Funny)

drakesword (3203755) | about 5 months ago | (#46101625)

its the arm off of one of my kerbals

Re:Thats no rock (5, Interesting)

JeanCroix (99825) | about 5 months ago | (#46101809)

I just figured that one of the rover's greebles [wikipedia.org] fell off...

Re:Thats no rock (1)

glavenoid (636808) | about 5 months ago | (#46101945)

Well I, for one, learned something interesting today, so you may rest assured that your comment did not go unappreciated.

The undersides of rocks... (3, Insightful)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 5 months ago | (#46101755)

Dr. Squyres says that if this object has been recently flipped over, "we are seeing the surface, the underside of a rock, that hasn't seen the Martian atmosphere for perhaps billions of years."

Trouble is, unless he's proposing that the underside of this rock was somehow vacuum-sealed against atmospheric influence, it has very much been exposed to the gases of the Martian atmosphere.

The undersides of rocks experience a different environment due to less exposure to wind erosion and the UV component of sunlight. But as far as being exposed to the gases that make up the atmosphere, the undersides are about as exposed at the topsides.

Most if not all of the minerals observed on Mars have been seen before, on Earth. Can you think of a terrestrial example of a rock whose underside has a significantly different chemical composition than its topside? I can't.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101933)

The picture in the "donut rock" link in the OP makes it pretty clear that this object is not some piece of stuff from elsewhere that got dropped/deposited/flipped into its current location.

Just look at the two pictures. The first has a shape outlined in darker 'dirt' in the area where the object appeared - a shape that is the same shape as the object. I have no idea what that means - but I /do/ think it's worth investigating. Seems odd.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101967)

Can you think of a terrestrial example of a rock whose underside has a significantly different chemical composition than its topside? I can't.

Most of the rocks I turn over have bug guts squished to the underside. Bug guts have a significantly different chemical composition.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 months ago | (#46102211)

If this rock has bug guts on the underside, I suspect NASA would be far more interested in it.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101975)

I think they're more interested in the divot it made.

look at a bunch of rocks, lift one up, yeah the underside is different, the mineral composition of the rock isn't but what's ON the rock is, the dirt is different than the dirt around the rock, and on earth there's all kinds of life living under that rock. in fact the undersides of rocks are often teeming with life, bugs, bacteria, lichens, worms, etc.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 5 months ago | (#46102001)

I don't think he was trying to claim that the underside of the rock was somehow sealed in a vacuum or anything, so calm down. He's just expressing the fact that the underside of that rock has probably been dug into the ground for a long time.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#46102209)

But, duh, just because it has been resting on the ground does not mean it "hasn't [been exposed to] the Martian atmosphere for perhaps billions of years".

GPS Pilot said it all. Dr. Squyres sounds like an idiot.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (2)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | about 5 months ago | (#46102323)

Maybe we're looking at the "bottom" of the rock. When I look at the pictures, I don't see any indication that the rock was dug in the ground where is currently sits. It looks to me more like it blew or fell into its current position (perhaps the surface of mars just got pelted by a meteor or a secret North Korean rover landing or something and knocked that rock from its prior position). Someone else said "Just look at the two pictures. The first has a shape outlined in darker 'dirt' in the area where the object appeared - a shape that is the same shape as the object." I disagree, you can see that outline sitting underneath this rock, offset a bit, like this rock just fell into place.

So, with all of the above, for all we know that is presently the top of the rock might have been the bottom of the rock for 5 million years. Or it might have broken off of a larger rock.

Worth investigating to a degree? Yes. Worth assuming that an Martian put the rock there as a joke? No.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 5 months ago | (#46103667)

I just got a vision of a secret North Korean rover following Opportunity and tossing crap in front of the cameras.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102023)

The undersides of rocks look different because moisture from the soil promotes microbial and fungal growth, as well as a wet rock will have a different color than a dry one.

So of course it looks differ... Um, no wait.. The official line is that neither of those can happen, so that can't be it... We'll just give it a cute name and look elsewhere...

Re:The undersides of rocks... (1)

radtea (464814) | about 5 months ago | (#46102963)

Can you think of a terrestrial example of a rock whose underside has a significantly different chemical composition than its topside? I can't.

You've never actually looked at a rock, have you? Or you live someplace really geologically boring?

Where I live we have sandstones with embedded basalts, basalts with quartz inclusions, and so on. It is extremely common for rocks to have multiple compositions, and this rock appears to be a fairly pedestrian example of that.

Re:The undersides of rocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46103289)

Can you think of a terrestrial example of a rock whose underside has a significantly different chemical composition than its topside? I can't.

Really? Weathering is so common, I can't image how you've never noticed it. Pretty much all rocks have different composition on the top vs the bottom if they've been sitting there long enough. I guess you've only been to populated places where most rocks have been messed with.

Well, it _is_ a rather interesting find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46101807)

I thought NASA dismissed it a little to cavalierly. I mean, it's not like that rover had found anything that would warrant the least bit of attention, after the first 3 months.

Secrative (1)

doconnor (134648) | about 5 months ago | (#46102283)

If the thing was life, NASA would be highly secretive about it until everything has been checked and reviewed and the President make the announcement.

Nasa must ensure that Petitioner appears as rst (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 5 months ago | (#46102297)

From the article "If the organism is biological, NASA must publicly acknowledge that the discovery was made by the Petitioner and must ensure that Petitioner appears as rst author on and has nal editorial approval of the rst 6 scientic articles published or submitted for publication by NASA employees which discuss and present this discovery." I hope this turns into something awesome, but it seems in his claim that he will get credit for the discovery even though NASA discovered the object first. I guess it's deserved if NASA really did overlook an object that proves monumental.

Re:Nasa must ensure that Petitioner appears as rst (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#46103773)

Well he'd have to prove it was "overlooked" and not merely put off until later. There's only so much room here for back seat lunar rover drivers.

When A Cup Of Coffee Appears Next To It... (1)

littlewink (996298) | about 5 months ago | (#46102501)

let me know. I'll be on the next flight out.

Not trying to be a tinfoil hat wearer but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46102537)

Every time I look at that those 2 photographs, I can see, what I would describe as, a precursor outline of the object that, looks to me, emerged from the ground. Frost?

What is going on here? (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 5 months ago | (#46102563)

Hasn't that donut been eaten yet? Where are the police when you need them?

Except they did release micrographs. (5, Informative)

ridley4 (1535661) | about 5 months ago | (#46102959)

If this idiotic shitstain spent more than five hard seconds looking at the processed press release images, forgetting to take his meds, and crying conspiracy, he would've discovered that the Mars Exploration Rover site on JPL actually releases every single raw image the second it gets downlinked from Mars, including photos that deny claims of not taking micrographs, and also ignorant of basic traits of the MERs (well, MER now - RIP Spirit), such as the relatively low resolution of its sensors compared to modern standards, the microscopic imager just having a resolution of 1024x1024 and a working area of 3.1cm square at operating distance, and because it doesn't have an light on it like MSL/Curiosity's MAHLI, isn't as good at taking photos of things on the ground, like a little rock on the surface of mars.

In fact, there's even hazcam images of the arm being swung into place, denying that the rover never got close, and that it's actually just the really small rock it is.
Before [nasa.gov] arm placement, and after. [nasa.gov]

Anyways - oh look, close up, in focus images of a mushroom. Not. [nasa.gov] I hope this fuck gets laughed out and never returns.

Re:Except they did release micrographs. (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46103497)

But they only took 27 images. He demands they do 100.

Because you know he's smart and stuff.

Re:Except they did release micrographs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46103989)

If this idiotic shitstain spent more than five hard seconds looking at the processed press release images, forgetting to take his meds, and crying conspiracy, he would've discovered that the Mars Exploration Rover site on JPL actually releases every single raw image the second it gets downlinked from Mars, including photos that deny claims of not taking micrographs, and also ignorant of basic traits of the MERs (well, MER now - RIP Spirit), such as the relatively low resolution of its sensors compared to modern standards, the microscopic imager just having a resolution of 1024x1024 and a working area of 3.1cm square at operating distance, and because it doesn't have an light on it like MSL/Curiosity's MAHLI, isn't as good at taking photos of things on the ground, like a little rock on the surface of mars.

I'd like to introduce you to my friend, the period. He's used to make your reply sound like maniacal and rambling.

Best quote of the petition (3, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 months ago | (#46103085)

"8. The refusal to take close up photos from various angles, the refusal to take microscopic images of the specimen, the refusal to release high resolution photos, is inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre. Any intelligent adult, adolescent, child, chimpanzee, monkey, dog, or rodent with even a modicum of curiosity, would approach, investigate and closely examine a bowl-shaped structure which appears just a few feet in front of them when 12 days earlier they hadn't noticed it. But not NASA and its rover team who have refused to take even a single close up photo."

His claim for standing to sue is pretty funny too. It boils down to, "I did a bunch of impressive neuroscience work in the late 70s & early 80s, vanished for 20 years, and then reappeared two decades later in full Linus Pauling crank mode churning out books on astrobiology and 'proving' that the evolution of DNA predates Earth by 6 billion years, that upper atmosphere plasma are actually extremophiles, and that otherwise I'm super interested in Mars."

"Oh, and I'm a taxpayer and really interested in this rock, therefore I deserved to have control over what NASA does in regards to it since they're too boneheaded to see how important it is."

Here's [amazon.com] one of his other books. The reviews give you an idea of how far this man has fallen as a scientist.

Re:Best quote of the petition (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 5 months ago | (#46103705)

evolution of DNA predates Earth by 6 billion years

This fascinating article [arxiv.org] makes it look quite possible, if not plausible. Seriously good read, and I am not a biologist.

I am suing! (3, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#46103729)

I am suing NASA demanding 100 high resolution photos and 24 micrographs be taken of Scarlett Johansson, at various angles, from all sides, and from above, and under appropriate lighting conditions which minimize glare, on the basis that this is a living organism.

Is it really worth a read? (1)

PingXao (153057) | about 5 months ago | (#46104043)

I'm wondering if it's even worth changing the comment threshold here to 3.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...