You’re so vein…

…you probably think this post is about you…

Sorry, couldn’t resist it! I know, I’ll try harder next time… :-)

But really, for MER followers and fans there’s only one topic of conversation at the moment – “Homestake”, or ‘The Vein’, a short, wiggly line of light, hard material Oppy spotted sticking up out of Cape York a couple of Sols ago. Thanks to UMSF’s mhoward, and his fantastic “Mars Midnight Browser” software, we can see exactly where Oppy found her latest object of interest…

The MER team are clearly excited enough by Homestake to have driven Oppy up closer to it, close enough to use her robot arm’s suite of instruments on it, including the MI microscopic imager camera – but more of that later. For now, let’s just remind ourselves of what Oppy spotted.

This feature – ringed – is the cause of all the excitement…

Seen up close it looked like this…

…and in 3D it looked like this…

…and here’s the best colour view of “Homestake” I’ve been able to make out of the few images returned so far…

But why all the fuss about such an unimpressive-loking thing? The latest MER Update by AJS Rayl gives the full background on the Vein, and you can read that report here:

MER Update November 2011

Here’s a snippet of info from that update (referring to Steve Squyres, of course):

“While Squyres, not surprisingly, wouldn’t “hazard a guess” as to what they may find in that vein, he did say this: “These are different than anything from anything we’ve ever seen with either rover, a completely new thing on Mars, never seen anywhere. And we’re pretty charged up about it.””

So, it seems that Homestake has grabbed the attention of the MER team. And Oppy has been taking her first close-up look at it through her microscopic imager. Here’s what she saw – I’ve stitched together three separate images to make one MI panorama…

Hmmmm… there is some very interesting texture on the top of Homestake there, don’t you think? It looks almost..scoured… very strange. But strange is good, we like strange. :-)

So, what IS Homestake? Has Oppy actually found her Holy Grail – a deposit of phyllosilicates? Is that what this light-toned vein is? Or is it some other kind of mineral that will provide clues as to how wet this part of Mars was in the faraway past? I can’t wait to find out…

Of course, we know what Homestake is really, don’t we..?

:-) :-) :-)

 

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5 Responses to You’re so vein…

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