Blue Areas On The Red Orb :: Oblate Spheroid
A deeper analysis of the images taken on Mars surface (JPL website) stir the debate on whither there is standing water … puddles of water on Mars.
In a report to be published in the journal IEEE Xplore, R. L. Levin and Daniel Lyddy detail their investigation of possible liquid water ponds on the Martian surface (2007 IEEE Aerospace Applications Conference Proceedings, paper #1376).
Through stereoscopic reconstruction of the images captured by the Mars Rover, Opportunity, Lockheed engineers were able to highlight surface details that just might prove the existence of water on Mars.
Excerpts from the New Scientist –
Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface
By David Chandler - NewScientist.com news service - 15:33 08 June 2007
The report identifies specific spots that appear to have contained liquid water two years ago, when Opportunity was exploring a crater called Endurance. It is a highly controversial claim, as many scientists believe that liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars today because of the planet’s thin atmosphere.
If confirmed, the existence of such ponds would significantly boost the odds that living organisms could survive on or near the surface of Mars, says physicist Ron Levin, the report's lead author, who works in advanced image processing at the aerospace company Lockheed Martin in Arizona.
Along with fellow Lockheed engineer Daniel Lyddy, Levin used images from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website. The resulting stereoscopic reconstructions, made from paired images from the Opportunity rover's twin cameras, show bluish features that look perfectly flat. The surfaces are so smooth that the computer could not find any surface details within those areas to match up between the two images.
The imaging shows that the areas occupy the lowest parts of the terrain. They also appear transparent: some features, which Levin says may be submerged rocks or pebbles, can be seen below the plane of the smooth surface.