Mars Worms Reconsidered
Ebtx comes back to Earth

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aving downloaded many hundreds of Mars Global Surveyor pictures these past couple of weeks, I am now prepared to conceed that there are most probably NOT any large life form on Mars ... at least nothing bigger than a Chevy Ranchero.

Even though I anticipate no absolute confirmation (in the form of another picture of the same place at a different time), I am 99% certain that the "worm" image is of a natural (although presently difficult to understand) geologic formation.

My reasons are these:

Every two dozen pictures or so contains some sort of "anomaly". They ought to rename the place the planet "Anomaly". Every hour or so of downloading you find yourself muttering, "Now what the hell is that?" ... I mean there is enough stuff here to keep any geologist busy for the rest of his life ... and the pictures still keep coming.

The second reason is the very poor quality of the pictures taken "in toto". I suppose that the camera used to take these pictures is incredibly expensive ... so ... it must be the problems involved in space photography (the perils of the journey, the heat, the cold, the vacuum, telemetry, etc.) that result in a quality which is, overall, less than what you would expect from a disposable camera bought from WalMart for $4.95.

I don't blame anyone for this. But I subconsciously expected, without any good reason, for the quality to be superior to what I am accustomed to in Earth photography. Now that I think about it, I see that this is a digital camera and the pictures given over th Internet are in 256 grayscale ... converted to minimal size jpegs. Perhaps that is some of the reason. But that wouldn't explain why every third picture or so has missing pieces or is altogether blacked out or lined or checkered out as if that part was not in the telemetry.

There are some pictures in which several dark shades of gray are replaced with plain black and some with several shades of light gray replaced with plain white. This effect is obvious and even "dopey" looking.

However, all in all, I am amazed and quite pleased to be able to "explore" on my own another planet with little or no trouble on my end (and no expense). This kind of remote exploration can only get better ... way better ... for everyone.

Here are a few of my finds which I thought to be "interesting" ...

Here ar some "worms"









M0203943

Latitude -48.51 ... Longitude 58.97


Now, what am I to think of this?

Well, in the first place ... this is a genuine anomaly in the fullest sense of the word. Above the worms there appears to be a "worm track". Can you see it? Sure is a cool pic, isn't it? I was really weirded out for awhile.

Caveat -

But ... this picture is "out of context" by which I mean ... sure they look like worms and don't seem to fit into the rest of the terrain ... but ... what if we had a larger picture? Maybe then we could see that the wormlike features were part of a vast field of similar "dunes". In the big "blow up" of this picture, you can see that some of the white has dune ridges on it.

And ... there is this problem. The resolution here is 1.7 meters per pixel ... so ... I counted the number of pixels to get the "size" of the supposed creature ... and ... even at the most conservative ... this creature would be 80 pixels x 1.7 meters per pixel = 136 meters in diameter.

You see, this one would be even 40% larger than the other "worms" and they were the biggest things in the solar system (living OR even man-made).

They've got to be dunes ... or ... some sort of "lava poop".



Here are some more dune worms

This is from M0702777 ... it is the lower picture (f) in a series of pictures composing that pic. These have some commonality with the other worm jpeg on the Marstube page. But ... having seen the other wider context, I know that these are dune ridges and shadow, combined with poor photographic exposure such that they appear to be rounded tubes. They are manifestly not. In the larger picture with a,b,c,d,e as well as f ... you can clearly see how a dune field "morphs" into these structures by a gradual process. I don't know exactly what causes this ... but I know for certain that these are dune formations.

They are shadows ... not "humps".

Here is a family of worms moving "underground"   ;o)

M0804427 ... well ... it could happen ...



Here are some possible plant thingies

This is from M1800010.

There seems to be a black ridge behind which sand has collected. At the edge of this ridge there are black "spots" with dark "radial marks". The direction of the prevailing wind is clearly indicated by the "soot" trails past the ridges and is consistent with the deposition of sand. The order of events is thus indicated ... 1st - the ridge it formed ... 2nd - the sand is deposited ... 3rd - the black blotches form on the "arc" of the sand but not on the main body of the sand. This logical sequence is seen elsewhere on Mars. It is strongly indicative of (at least primitive) plant life.



More possible plants or lichens or moss or fungus ?

From M0203095
This "stuff" shows up quite regularly. I don't think it is rock. Might be ... but I'm leaning to some sort of plant.



Here are some "scallops" ... M0403899

I don't know what would cause this. These do not appear to be dunes ... rather ... I believe they are "scooped out" areas. How? Maybe a giant hand about fifty kilometers long gouged them with fingernails.



Here is an example of a "bad" photograph

Cropped form M0704730

In the shadows you see the "dust devil" trails. On top ... nada. The white glares out the trails on top ... and they are undoubtedly there. You just can't see them because of the contrast problem. In the "real" picture, these lines in the shadows look like a translucent image of the interiior of the dune (sheesh!).

Hope you enjoyed these pics I found amidst the throng.

Let me know it you find any worth seeing. There are tens of thousands of Mars pics and more are coming in every day ... so ... there must be a lot of oddities. I would be interested to see them but I can't sort through them by myself.


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