Curiosity-What I Expect You to Find


Look deep and turn all the rocks over as you review them-just like any Rock-Hound, Geologist, Astrobiologist, Biologist, wives' and children would. Turn them over in the field and find your fossil that's your job and what you're built for...NOW go find them and report back.

Pictured here are 3 examples of 490 to 500 MYO Ordovician rocks from Eastern Ontario, Canada-which just happens to be my own property where I have found and mounted many of these old rocks for family and friends. Some have even sold! On the surface observe oolites, mud balls, various snail shell patterns, and my favorite find the 'crinoid'.




This is what I expect a 2.3 Billion $ Curiosity to find as a bare minimum. Good luck!


If you really want MSL/Curiosity to find putative macro-fossils you wouldn't send it to Gale Crater but the Eberswalde dried up river delta or the ancient Mawrth Vallis. Yet finding fossils is not easy - not even on Earth unless you look at the right spots.

In Gale there is only those rather tiny accessible spots (with apparent water influence and potential fossilizing properties in the past) at the base of Mount Sharp where there may be a chance. Otherwise the astrobiologists can only hope for MSL to pick up chemical fingerprints of life in Gale and those put factual/ground-truth based doubt on the Viking GC/MS readings - with all the due implications...
Or maybe observe current microbial life (eg biologic mediated rock varnish, lichen like grow, generic endolithic/soil micro-life) and its remains.

Nice collection of yours though! :-)

p.s. I really, really want to stand corrected with all my pessimistic views of Gale Crater so good luck MSL!


They are now testing chem cam on a rock that might be a rock varnished example (N165). I prefer to think that in their first test they will find chemical signs of rock varnish. Fingers crossed


Winston, that would be a great debut of the chemcam instrument. :-)

But to be honest I have the impression that the general public again - like with the MERs (where is the scientific data of the winter campaign?) - is "feeded" with loads of engineering data and touristic information's instead of the interesting scientific findings but we will see.

They have looked in vain for limestone to find fossils within. If they find similar material to your stone dx, they will almost certainly build a rover to explore the outcrops. I have some of the more regular outer measure tubes of crinoids in a rock garden outside my home, but the source and types are not available to me. The full crinoids can be exotic looking as shapes.
It gives me a thought as to whether we will have a tabletop sized scanning electron microscope on Mars on a rover someday without finding the Earth standard limestone bulk rock to study?
Sulfates might suggest microbes, but would we expect anything larger than microbes at Gale?
Following MPJ's suggestion,
I think they should be first climbing to the lowest pits of the channel towards Mount Sharps slope, slightly to the East, to investigate they settling surface coverage which looks new and non-eroded. One of the dust covered pits is between two or more separated faulted blocks of deeper layers, and shows semi-liquid flow and rafted solids. Looks volcanic in temp. but may show the most recent heat sources exposed. Did water ever alter the lowest pits at the lowest exposures? They may be much more recent than the inverted stream-bed to the south and west, but they tectonic eruptions of the flows should bring chemistry of deeper layers along for the ride either to the surface, or from above in the upper layers, if the source of the flows is missing.
Surface water would have flowed to the pits if ever present after the formations in liquid stable phase.
As the color of the pits and lowest flows are 'pink' in IRB as is most of the local terrain, would water influence be seen from the satellite imaging? Perhaps we can only find the influence closely in rover imaging?

Fossils in the lowest pits, or in the elevated layers? The most recent heat sources, or the depositioned layering of the volcanic buildup of the Mount Sharp two main masses?
Hopefully some timing can be established for the various formations from the rover tests.

Those are some very fine looking plaques of examples in the topic photos. Have you found any worms in the materials from your home area? Some of those look like worm sections.


I'm sitting patiently waiting for Curiosity to go through all its exercises to familiarize itself and the NASA team as to its function at the present time. I am not in a hurry for any discovery that may take place either on purpose or accidentally.

Curiosity has got to function exactly correct to get the best and most out of it properly and I am sure you understand that.

I put these Earth fossils up on the MRB because these are the base fundamentals for observing. Never mind the laser zapping rocks for mineral content, there are 17 cameras on this curious monster and that means visual interpretation we can all understand. No pareidolia in it at all.

Color and truth await!



No worms...but plenty of snail shells.

ORDOVICIAN period 440 > 510 MYO
Identifies ancient snails (maclurites, hormotoma) mudball peloids (oolites) and crinoids in carbonate rock (oxford formation) found and mounted by: dx September 1996 GRENVILLE COUNTY Oxford-on-Rideau Twsp, Ontario, Canada

Authenticated by NRC in 1997-Institute of Sedimentary & Petroleum Geology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


I have a Silurian worm from Eastern Oklahoma which is very cute from a proper angle. Brachiopods alongside. I may try to photograph it for reference here. Very 'ET' in it's erect free standing posture.
If r lewis is correct in the details we may have a basis for liquids at Gale in some portion of Mars history, and I have presented one of the many flow channels in the area, this one leading from the landing site to the Eastern depressions where erosion has been active.
Possibly a detour to scour the surface of that terrain for eroded fossils is appropriate as it is closest in travel distance?
Thought the images were redundant if given in all appropriate topics active now.

Hope this MAHLI closeup camera can perform as stated. Micro fossils may be viewed down to human blood 'giant white cell' size range if it performs well as described.

Ok the hunt is on! :roll:

Here is a little contribution from Mastcam R Sol 13 - cropped, 1.5x enlarged, auto contrast and white balance Photoshop CS4:


This must be one of those dangerous new discoveries that make blogging difficult and causes some to use pseudonyms.
This is the ccam, or chemcam, imager, which seems to be working poorly, or, perhaps they couldn't bother with heat proof lighting. I altered the image for this view, at normal size, but the anigif became reduced in size for reasons not known.
What are we looking at, and are these objects, an object, or is there an appearance of the fibers or spiders, or is there a trustworthy person we can ask about this?



Sol 22 Curiosity/MSL and a bug

The entry prior showed a good, non-pixelated image on my machine, but Image Shack has apparently now started an '80%' policy again. Quality of image is reduced upon uploading. I'll be advised and find a solution. The fibers were continuous and the rounded shapes were fairly smooth. Any explanation from headquarters for Curiosity and the chemcam group? The image is arrived to us as 8 bit, but jpeg, but these certainly look real. Even the dark grey on the left side of this looks like a fleshy moss or fibrous noise item.
Who turns on the lights at 'chemcam'?
I'll make a better image and place it on the 'Exploration of Gale Crater' topic at the MSL Forum section.

I have a question on your reply #8 color enlargement. The apparent texture across the erect blue-grey shard shows circular and similar overlapping slightly blurred patterns on the rock surface appearing as shade or material difference. Is the an artifact of the JPEG process contaminating the original, or is that in the original. I haven't been trying to enlarge these full size mcam or Mastcam pictures. Limits on my videocard(laptop today) and the JPEG built in decay syndrome injures all these Curiosity images, and is that the source of the shapes or are we seeing mineral or other real details?
This is a blur induced less pixelated 'spider' assembly of the ccam 'fibers' which I am as yet trying understand. I'll drop this image topic and study your entries as we all have seen these fibers in the thousands of examples from the MER two rover returns. Not a new story here, just a new rover with new cameras and a new location with differing materials. Why persistent fibers or complex unexpected shapes in images of all three rovers? There are no rovers now which can be used as an example of denial. What and why?

The image is the true size 1 to 1 that is provided on the MSL raw images source page, and the images appears nearly black, with(from memory) only one LED light for a lighting source behind a heat screen. Somewhere I read the reference to a single switched LED which does not influence the spectroscopy results.

Are we facing yet again the limits of the JPEG public access images, with far better resolution and trustworthiness of non-published true raw data?
I used a specialized type of blur to reduce the rather mis-matched pixelation sourced from the original, but I'll be transferring to desktop comp. with a good video card tomorrow. Digital imaging can be very limiting just as the built-in limits of the Curiosity cameras, and the 8 bit transfer depth.
You have good color balance, and general image quality in your #8, but in enlargements all detail is challenged, and JPEG's are not appropriate sources. If they gave us TIF's we could get a near direct quality of 100% without artifacts.
It was claimed these cameras were adjusted for pixel edge matching prior to transmission. My laptop simplicity may be responsible for the lack of quality, added to the host decay syndrome applied.
Anti-aliasing adjustment increase, from 1, to 2 or 3 pass increase, is my hope for the various limits given on the laptop limits.

The new landscape of Mt. Sharp at PIA16105 and PIA16104(100mm Mastcam) gives me increased confidence that we may find some interesting crystals and other unknown objects. Looks sedimentary compared to details from satellite imagery. Also shows 'cap' soft rock/soil cover of a 'hummocky' type impact debris assembly probably, which may indicate multiple historical periods.

Dana, you ask questions which are my own as well regarding the 8 images. I cannot say too if the textures on the platy almost upright appearing (in this perspective) rock are true or image artifacts (jpg). They are visible in the original jpg source as well (you can enlarge it using your browser zoom ctrl+"+").
Did you notice the "special texture" along the upper right corner of the platy rock too?

I offered this observation as a response to dx linked rocks with fossil imprints(!) :wink:

What we know is that this rocks have been blasted clean of all loose material which could have hidden such textures otherwise (this is what i do when fossil hunting too) - also note the larger boulder textures in the upper right corner of the original image...

If I was in command of Curiosity I would at least order some more close-up and micro images of that "clean" rocks including the punctured smaller brighter rock below the platy rock! :-)

regarding the ChemCam images please refer to the entries in Exploration of Gale Crater topic to not fragment this issues too much.

In reply to dx's Ordovician rock images something that looks similar.

In reply to dx's Ordovician rock images something that looks similar.


I am unable to connect to the temp post so I will ask here? If it is warmer at the crater site does anyone else wonder what the temp and pressure readings would be at the cayon site?

I assume you are either referencing the deep channel through which the Mt Sharp formation is exposed and around which the rover will try to ascend the upper slopes?
The other possible 'canyon' is the base of Mt Sharp where the dark dunes are concentrated. One has open exposure to Northern winds(dark dunes channel) and the fissure/fault or erosion deeper channel traverse would have a different exposure to wind and sunlight heating. As thr rover would have a very different result traveling the deeper channel bottom, it may not be possible to estimate the deep channel comtent and local weather as open slope climbing will give a direct sunlight and wind record as the rover travels the North and East side of the main slope.
Will we continue to find suggestive shapes along the climb as we have seen at the landing area traverse?
We landed in a very deep elevation locale.
We are planning to climb to above the median elevation on the slope, with changing climate regions and then even higher towards a lower pressure zone. Just a few miles difference, but differing weather potential.
It is a challenge to imagion the changes of chemistry that could have been happening to any shaped items we will be recording along all the traverse. Will the changes remove any proof of content of the original items seen?

As the new years opens we have this presentation of a simple life prepetuation process analogous to the stress conditions induced by Mars extreme climate in some aspects. Should this be a pointer to expectng novel accommodations on Mars?

A plaque on a hollow rod, or a shell with internal resources? Many discoveries of objects with stasis periods or near complete desication and near death/re-animation for dozens to millions of years have been found on Earth.
The image was just another suggestion from the natural background content on Earth.

There's something a bit weird in this image.

This is another translucent object (rock?) that has been reported by the Curiosity Rover that has been imbedded in the surrounding rock.

Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, but it looks like there are at least two transluscent *items* embedded in this rock.




Could it be a first for 'mother-of-pearl' embedded in this rock. After all NASA idicated that Curiosity is traversing an ancient riverbed. No reason something like shells could not last millions of know minerals like gold, silver...etc. do exist. I'm sure there were some early tectonics on Mars but located further out from the Sun has cooled the planet yet perhaps there may have been the beginnings of some miniscule shelled animals in the water flow. Who knows for sure, but I think that rover and its Earthen crew should be curious-just a little bit, its got enough intelligent apparatus on board and the NASA crew brags how good the rover has been especially outliving that fantastic this curious monster better get to work and give us the details with results.

Certainly not anything like a flower lame is that!