Whim Creek weirdness


Some new images came back of “Whim Creek”, or ‘The feature previously known as The Notch or The Wound’, and when I had a go at colourising them and stitching them together something rather strange appeared.

Here’s the black and white version… some frames are missing (obviously, duh!) but what is there is pretty impressive enough…

The first step in making a colour version of an image like this results in a rather garish, glaring “false colour” picture, which looks NOTHING like ‘real life’ but can be very useful in highlighting the differences between rocks and material in the landscape. Here’s what this part of WC looks like in such “false colour”…

Now, OBVIOUSLY Mars isn’t blue, but the blue tones in that image are “real” in that they do accurately show the difference in hue between the rocks in the scene. It’s like a colour-coded chart, if you like. So, roughly, all the purplish-looking rocks are made of – or at least covered in – the same “stuff”, same for the ones of different colours. Roughly.

Now, look over to the left side of the image, on the “bank” of the Creek, and you’ll see a rather striking ‘splash’ of vibrant blue..? There’s something going on there. But it’s not blue!

So, taking that false colour image and trying to make it more ‘martian’, I get this…

THAT’s more like it! But that ‘splash’ is still there – and now it’s turned… green?

Naah. That can’t be right. That’s something *I’m* doing wrong in the image creation process, I’m happy to admit that. But it doesn’t matter, what matters is that there’s a different type of material there. What? Well, it’s probably dust, or some other fine material, that’s blown into the fracture on the wind. There’s a lot of it, too, and it looks fairly localised, which is interesting.

So there, you see? Real science… martian geology… shown on a picture created on a (very old!) desktop PC, by a Mars nut in his front room, whilst drinking tea and dunking ginger nut biccies, thanks to the guys on the MER team having decided, right at the start of the mission, to just set their pictures free and allow anyone who wanted to mess about with them.

I love this mission, I really do.

Here’s the view above but in 3D…

Hope we get some L456 filter images of this area so I can make something more accurately coloured.

We’re now just a few days away from the landing of Curiosity, so I imagine things are going to be rather quiet for Oppy for a while. So they will be here too. With nothing coming back *from* Oppy, and all eyes turned towards Curiosity as she settles into her new home – Gale Crater – there won’t be much for me to write about or show you. But don’t worry, normal service will be resumed soon, and this blog absolutely will not be turning its back on Oppy once MSL has landed. Oppy has travelled a long way to get here – but I suspect her greatest successes, and her most spectacular achievements, are still to come. And we’ll walk alongside her every step of the way, whether she reaches the summit of Cape Tribulation, and gazes down on Endeavour crater from on high, or succumbs to old age and rolls to a weary Wheels Stop before then.

Kepe checking back, ok?

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