Analysing Images for cMaLF – Part 2

Fig 3.1
Fig 3.1 – Alternate Main Image showing another view of our possible cMaLF

Welcome back to Blog #3.

In Blog #2 a partial analysis of the left portion of the possible cMaLF (candidate Martian Life Form) was completed.

The assignment for this Blog was for Blog Members to complete the analysis of the right portion of our possible cMaLF.  It was suggested, however, that members should search out another image from Sol 618 that showed the area to the right of the object of interest.

There are eight images that showed partial or complete views of this object. The MastCamLeft images are partial frame images and too heavily blurred at high magnifications to be of use, so those are excluded from this analysis. The only other full frame image showing the cMaLF is shown in Fig 3.1 above.

In the original analysis of MCR Sol 618 2014 May 03 04:16:55 UTC, a tiny clue was noted, a milky translucent area associated with the right end orange terminator (See Fig 3.2a) which suggested that there was more of the cMaLF extending behind the rock out to the right and out of frame of the first main image reviewed. There also seemed to be transparent barely visible blurring visible just above the rock running to the right. This may be something to do with the object of interest or it could be associated with the obscuring rock. It is a pretty thin analysis, frankly, but what is being analysed is at best fugitive in nature. It is necessary, sometimes, to get creative. Even scientists go with their gut instinct on occasions.

 Fig 3.2b has been marked up with inserted dotted lines to show the main features. Mark-ups are a double-edged sword. They show the objects of interest but obscure image information. Here minimum visible 1/2 point dashed lines have been used and there should be no need to exceed 1 point line width for mark-up. White dashed line shows outline of the obscuring rock, red shows the small milky coloured area and yellow the outline of the blurry transparent feature.

There is a need here to see image features which are transparent better and currently the appearance can be enhanced by IBCM (Fig 3.2.c) and Tinting (Fig 3.2.d & e).

There is a problem however and it is common with Mars imagery.

One half of the image is dark and the other is very bright. If Image Brightness is increased bright areas disappear as the dark areas are revealed and vice versa. Multiple images could be used. Luckily GIMP has a useful tool ( Appropriately shown as a magic wand on the Toolbox Menu!) which allows the selection of just the dark areas of an image to allow, for example selective brightening of that area. The selection can be inverted and Image Contrast can be increased as Image Brightness is decreased. Clicking <All> from the Select drop down selects the complete image which can then be cropped and pasted into a Word Document.

GIMP(GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful, free open source cross-platform software program. It is a Google away, as are the thousands of YouTube videos showing  how to use the various features of the program much better than  can be achieved here. The Image Analysis here will use only the simplest of the GIMP tools. Those interested in attempting image analysis are urged to download the Program from the link provided in the Links Section of this Blog.

The Selective IBCM image Fig 3.2.f shows the transparent blur a bit better as a milky mauve feature which extends to the right. For now, this enough evidence to suggest that there might be something hidden behind the rock and that may emerge on the other side of that rock so an image is needed that will show that. It is, in any case, good practice to check the immediate surroundings of an object of interest to obtain contextual information.

Please note that adjusting the IBCM reveals faint colour or tints that are otherwise not easily visible as the result of brightening and intensification. This suggests that these blurry transparent features have a faint tint to them. This will be revisited later in the analysis.

If the crop image (Fig 3.3.a) from the alternate main image is examined carefully, new information is revealed.

Fig 3.3.a R1
Fig 3.3.a – Crop Image showing immediate surroundings of Object of Interest

On the other side of the rock it is possible to discern a complex plume-like feature which extends right about 700mm from behind the rock to bend vertically upwards for another ~1m. Careful examination indicates faint tints of white, pink and yellow-green. It is not possible to say with certainty that this feature belongs to the Object of  Interest but alignment and location suggests that it is. Fig 3.3.a shows the plume marked up in red.

Fig 3.3.b R2
Fig 3.3.b – Mark-up in red showing plume feature noted in Fig 3.3.a

It is of course, speculative to suppose that this plume does actually belong to our cMaLF.  How it joins to the orange terminal is hidden behind the rock and association can only be a guesstimate from the tiniest of clues as mentioned previously. Yet, most probably, it does belong to the cMaLF and this possibility cannot be ignored in the analysis of this image. Fig 3.4.a ~ Fig 3.4.b show different versions of this plume-like feature.

It is clear that this plume feature is probably tough and flexible as evidenced by the right angle it bends through to the vertical where it has come up against a large rock, curling back on itself at the top end.  As the mark-up suggests the top part of the plume is transparent and so it is likely that the entire plume is colourless and the cream colour observed may owe much to the sandy background behind the plume.  The plume has a biological / botanical appearance.

Figs 3.4.a~d show the plume has a complex, stranded structure with an irregular shaped element resembling a pitcher plant in shape with dimly seen black stalk with small dak spherical terminals.

Near the top of the plume is a dark elongated shape with rounded top end and tapered bottom end with dimly seen associated structures (Fig 3.4.e)

Considering the orange terminal:

The features that stand out are the white F shaped feature (It is possible to find the entire alphabet and some numbers in images of Martian terrain) and what looks like jaws or mandibles at the front of an insect head. Tempting though this might seem that is a spurious interpretation with an unwarranted conclusion. The F shape turns out to have other elements, difficult to see but there nevertheless. The “mandibles” are an illusion caused by an opaque translucent image element partly obscuring the blunt, triangular, dark orange shape.

A more supportable analysis is shown in Fig 3.5.bYellow outlines the obscuring rockBlue and red outlines transparent features emerging to left and right of the orange terminal outlined in orange (the blue outline is the cause of the “mandible” appearance)- white outlines a more complete analysis of the white F feature and reveals it as a collar-like structure with lobes (in reality these are probably a ring of lobe shapes running around the left end of the orange terminal)

The inverted U-shaped Feature outlined in pink has a dark reddish black colour. This gives way to a keyed shape of dark grey outlined in mauve – this is judged to be an illusion caused by translucent obscuring image elements. More likely is a dark brownish red segment giving way to a grey/green segment giving way to a light reddish-brown segment. The top of the cMaLF outlined in grey is a translucent whitish green feature. This has a biological appearance.

Obviously, from this image, we can reasonably conclude that this is a sentient Martian life form as it is obviously spelling out its sentiments about NASA’s invasion of its privacy! (Sorry! Low Level Joke!)

Moving to the portion of the cMaLF where the cylindrical section starts to transform to a keel section around the central area:

Figs 3.6.a (below) – shows a general view of the right portion of the cMaLF and Fig 3.6.b shows a selectively brightened version of Fig 3.6.a

Viewing Fig 3.6.a, a faint transparent blurring with indistinct form can be observed. When Selective IBCM is applied to Fig 3.6.b, it is possible to see into the shadows and the transparent, blurry, indistinct forms can now be seen extending upwards and downwards from the cMaLF more clearly. This would be left and right if the cMaLF was viewed along its central axis. Examination of the top side of the cMaLF shows two distinct layers of colouring. The layer closest to the cMaLF is a pale straw yellow that gives way to a faint brownish, pink, milky layer.

Fig 3.6.c & d – The magnified views show the two layers more clearly. It is noticeable that the yellow layer exhibit a better optical clarity and the background may be clearly observed through it (in a blurry sort of way) while the faint pink/milky layer is translucent but effectively obscures the background. This indicates that something is present that has different optical activities along its length.

Further adjustment (Figs 3.6.e & f) reveals the visible layers are misleading and that along the body are a series spatulate/obovate shaped translucent/transparent shapes that appear to originate from the black part of the cMaLF. This suggests a transition in optical qualities along these translucent/transparent objects. These features have a biological or botanical appearance.

Fig 3.7.a & 3.7.b show views of the lower side of the cMaLF. The crop from the original Main Image reveals blurry transparent, indistinct, elongated spatulate shaped features which exhibit a flexible appearance originating from the cMaLF. These are clearer in the selectively brightened version of Fig 3.7.b.  Fig 3.7.c is the Blue-Green Tint version shows the mark-up. Appearance is biological or botanical.

Time to clear up some loose ends…

In Blog #2 an analysis of the Terminator of the Tapered Section of the cMaLF was performed. (Fig 3.8.a) Observation was recorded as follows:

Extending from the end of the tapered section are multiple cuneate shaped translucent objects of different tints that obscure the background, blurring it away. Appearance is bushy and jelly like with a dull matt surface. They are spread out in a fan shape and overlap.

No mark-up was provided so as to allow the blog members to attempt the analysis of this part of the cMaLF without the influence of the Author. Now the analysis will be completed.

Fig 3.8.c shows mark-up of dimly seen transparent/translucent protuberances from the terminator of the tapered section. They have dimly seen internal structure and cuneate/obovate/spatulate outline shapes. Appearance is biological or botanical.

In Blog #2 it was noted that there appeared to be a blurry translucent/transparent feature coming from under the middle area of the object of interest. It is much clearer in this Main Image.

Figs 3.9.a ~c are different versions of this feature one of which has been marked up to show the cuneate/ spatulate transparent/translucent objects. Appearance is biological or botanical.

Fig 3.9. d is a place filler image – it is a version of Fig 3.2.c that has been subjected to ACTS…an adjustment of Colour Tone and Saturation that has revealed the tints of transparent / translucent protuberances. An explanation of ACTS is provided later on.

Conclusions & Discussions

The case for this object being a cMaLF

Analysis shows a curved, black, possibly segmented, (suggestive of a chitinous exoskeleton) uniformly smooth object. One end has a rounded triangular orange coloured terminator circled by a translucent white collar with associated spatulate shaped lobes. Object has a circular cross-section which changes along its length first to a triangular/keel shaped cross section with a flattened top and then to a taper with a circular cross section with small whitish small diameter tip skewed to the right. Along the circular and tapered sections there appear to be translucent/transparent spatulate shaped translucent /transparent lobes of varying length and appearance. Beyond the Orange terminator extending to the right partially obscured by a rock is a plume shaped feature that bends through a right angle from horizontal to the vertical bending back on itself indicating flexibility. It is possible that this is part of the cMaLF. The taper section at the left of the black object has a stiff appearance, while the right end as a curved more flexible appearance. At the taper end there is a fan of cuneate/spatulate shaped translucent/transparent features that obscure the background.

Multiple elements of this object have a biological or botanical appearance.

Rocks on Earth do not have transparent/translucent protuberances or plume-like features, orange terminals or white collar with lobes and, so far, apart from this example neither does Mars.

This does not look like any other rock in Gale Crater or in other Mars imagery as far as can be determined. It is certainly one of the most unusual looking and therefore perhaps one of the most important rocks observed in Gale Crater. Too bad we don’t know mare about it and have better imagery.

So the challenge to Planetary Scientists and Geologists is to explain this rock please…usual deal OK…written analysis with supporting photographic evidence.

So if the Planetary Scientists and Geologists cannot put up they will need to step aside and let the Astrobiologists have a shot…

Hi guys…have a seat…make yourself comfortable… have a beer and take a squint at that…Whadja think? Nice rock…?

The Case for This Being a Rock

I didn’t have a Planetary Scientist from NASA to consult with so I invented one not representative of anyone real or living or dead…with deepest apologies to the real deal…just kidding!

“Oh! Nice rock! Very unusual…You think what? No, no, no…It’s NOT a Martian Life Form. Look NASA says “nothing can live on the surface of Mars.“..period. End of discussion. Nothing there but rocks and sand…They have been saying that for 40 years. Rocks and sand…and maybe some CO2 ice…then there’s those RSL and the Blue Ice and the Purple Rocks and the…anyway. Everybody agrees with NASA…they are the experts… So it is a ROCK! Can I explain how it formed?…As a matter of fact I can…here…I’ll sketch it for you”

Possible geological explanation of putative cMaLF misidentified by Pochi Mikan on

“One isolated sighting of this object suggests that it is just…another…rock albeit an unusual and interesting example…it is a rock! Anyone can tell that by looking at it… Pyura what?!! Oh, yes…right….Pyura chilensis. That is that weird tunicate that looks like a chunk of igneous rock…mass of blood-red organs inside…high vanadium. What has that got to do with anything? This is a rock. Not a Martian Life Form that looks like a rock. What type of rock is it ? Well…errum…white stuff might be a strata of magnesium sulphate containing aggregate, the orange – some iron rich rock like haematite and the grey rock could be mudstone containing detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulphates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulphides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites….No…we did not analyse it with the ChemCam…We did not see it…It took you 5 minutes to find it? Well good for you…NASA does not have the time, manpower or money to analyse every single image. Look…I am one of the most experienced, most renowned, planetary scientists on Earth. 40 years of experience as a geologist…On Earth?…Of course on Earth…No…I have never seen alien life forms…ever…It is a rock! I know a rock when I see a rock!”

“What? OK…OK…Maybe…maybe…multiple sightings of identical objects might point to the very remote possibility of this being a cMaLF as you suggest but it could also be some unusual mineralogical outcrop which has this characteristic appearance not seen previously on Mars or Earth. So it could be a mineral outcrop of some kind. But most likely it is a rock! Rocks are what we do at NASA! RocksRUs!

“BTW…Those transparent features are clearly illusory imaging effects and are just a spurious interpretation and should be disregarded. You cannot rely on this imagery. All kinds of problems with it! Cosmic Ray Glitches from solar storms! Hot pixels. Signal translation problems.You’d have to ask an expert about that…”

“Most likely it’s a rock…or something that fell off Curiosity…that looks like a rock.”

OK…sorry about that…just me having a little fun…seriously though…it is a rock then… .  😀



Is this really a rock?

Ventifacts are never as perfect as this nor do they have such an unusual, symmetrical  curvilinear appearance. They tend to be faceted rocks (Ein, Zwei, Dreikanter) not this kind of complex, smoothly tapered cylinder, flat on top, wedge keel shape giving way to a cylindrical cross-section and etc.

The mechanism of formation outlined above might have occurred. The surrounding rocks do not support that scenario…but there may be other explanations. If there are, let us hear them please.

It is possibly a definite cMaLF, but without multiple sightings of identical objects it cannot ever be more than just a possible cMaLF by the rules of this Blog that requires at least two separate sightings

So it is hoped that the blog members will find another one.

The case for this being a rock or a mineral outcrop is felt to be rather weak as this object does not have the appearance of other rocks on Mars or Earth as far as can be determined. It exhibits features that are not generally associated with rock like the flexible nature of the plume and its frond like appearance but the plume feature might  not belong to the cMaLF so this difficult to argue as evidence of anything of much significance. Lastly, It exhibits transparent protuberances observed at the tapered terminator and along the length of the curved black object. The interpretation is questionable however.

There will be many, naturally, who disagree with this analysis. Good…say so but if you do that, it is hoped that you will explain your analysis of this object of interest for the consideration of the Blog.

A similarity to a terrestrial marine Annelida was mentioned so let us quickly consider that interesting possibility:

Fig 3.10.a
Fig 3.10.a -Diagram showing the major morphology features of a generalized polychaete (adapted from Fauchald 1977)

Quick bio on this interesting creature – The Polychaeta or bristle worms (polychaetes) are a paraphyletic class of annelid worms, generally marine.

I do not need to point out, I hope, how extremely unlikely it would be that this is a surviving descendant of a Martian marine worm that evolved to a land based version as the waters of Gale Crater evaporated. The odds of that are probably about the same as flipping a coin 10 times and having land on its edge every time.

This is only an example to illustrate the structure of a typical Annelida and its limited  similarities to the observed cMaLF.

Then there is this magnificent plumed worm…

Fig 3.10.b
Fig 3.10.b – Riftia pachyptila observed, with anemones and mussels colonizing in close proximity – NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011

Riftia pachyptila (giant tube worms) are marine invertebrates in the phylum Annelida, related to tube worms commonly found in the intertidal and pelagic zones. Riftia pachyptila live  >1 ~ 7 miles deep in the Pacific near to black smokers, and are tolerant to high hydrogen sulphide levels. Length > 2.4 m and their tubular bodies have a diameter of 4 cm. Ambient temperature in their natural environment ranges from 2 ~ 30 ⁰C.

Fig 3.10.c
Fig 3.10.c – Drawn according to Childress et al. (1987): Symbiosis in the Deep Sea. Scientific American 255, 115-120

It has no mouth, no guts, and no anus – The plume diffuses nutrients and waste in and out of the worm from/to the surrounding environment. The vestimentum anchors the upper portion of the worm in the tube and enables blood flow from the plume to the trophosome. It also produces new tube material, holds reproductive pores, and houses the heart and brain. The trophosome plays host to symbiotic bacteria that provides the tube worm with nutrients. The coelomic cavity allows for the development of organs. An important structure is the opisthosome which has some segmentation.

Fig 3.10.d R1
Fig 3.10.d – cMaLF reinvented as the evolved descendent of an ancient Martian Marine Worm (from the time Gale Crater had water) See Fig 3.10.e for detail of head…

Key to Fig 3.10.d:  A – Anal Cirrus, B – Parapodium+Setae C– Segment,                                 D – Peristonium/Peristomial Cirrus, E – Prostomium, F – Palp…

As can be seen from Fig 3.10.d,e & f it is possible to glimpse points of similarity between our cMaLF and an Annelida . It would be, not just leaping to conclusions, but olympic class pole vaulting to conclusions, to suppose that because of those poorly observed similarities, that this cMaLF is really the evolved descendant of an ancient Martian Marine Worm. The imagery simply is not good enough. If MAHLI had been used on this “object of interest” everything would have been a lot clearer.

It would, anyway, require, first of all, a considerable battery of scientific tests to confirm that a cMaLF is actually life, without getting up to our neck in alien DNA, if indeed it has such a thing. Then there are other minor details like fossil records and so on.

If cMaLF are not carbon based, water dependent life forms the tests in place at present for proving life might have to be re-invented in any case. How long would that take? 10 years?

So…nice idea but not at all likely when you sit down, have a cup of coffee and think carefully about it.

However, what about that Riftia pachyptila? What a piece of work that Annelida is. No mouth, no guts, and no anus…tolerates lethal levels of hydrogen sulphide. The plume absorbs nutrients and expels waste, That  vestimentum, the collar like structure around the worm just below the plume, helps to make the tube, holds reproductive pores, and houses the heart and brain. Now that is very interesting and what we can legitimately suggest is that any bio-engineering solution found on Earth might have been developed in the same way by life on other planets. In this case the Plume and a ring like structure just below the plume on Riftia pachyptila fulfils most of the life critical functions…it is a multirole organ platform. We will be seeing this Annelida again.

Engineers love that type of ergonomic solution! 😀

One great difficulty with observation of cMaLF is that of observing their transparent /translucent features. It makes any observations appear questionable or ludicrous to observers not familiar with how to analyse these features.

As we move on to look at other cMaLF, these translucent/transparent protuberances are all we will be able to see much of the time and unless one is familiar with the clues that help identify their presence that is often difficult and sometimes nearly impossible.

Luckily, one of those features of these translucent/transparent protuberances is that these are usually faintly tinted. And I do mean faintly. At high magnification it just possible, if the lighting in the image is right, to notice the faint tints associated with these features.

They include blue and reddish pink, yellow, yellow-green, purple, white, black, brown, reddish-brown. Most images show these colours. Of course, these could be associated with rock colours and, indeed, some may be, however others are rather difficult to explain. Those are the patches of colour that appear in front of the rocks like the shards of a shattered stained glass window suspended in the air.

Low light viewing conditions are best for this exercise. I have blacked out the bright bits of the image to help. Close your eyes for a minute. Increasing Image Contrast helps to reveal the colour tints of the transparent protuberances that are all over this image but their appearance is still vague and indistinct and, clearly a different approach is needed that will bring out the tint colours so that they are unmistakable.

Fig 3.11.a R1
Fig 3.11.a – Coloured arrows point to observed faint tints of same colour in this IBCM image

To get to what I needed, I applied my go to tools of choice, brute force and ignorance. When all else fails sometimes these two old friend work pretty well.

That approach is ACTS+NDL (Adjusted Colour Tone & Saturation + Neutral Density Layer).

First ignorance…I adjust the Tone Bias and Saturation of an image way past stupid…and to extend that as needed by brute force, I apply a neutral grey layer of varying degrees of transparency to suit image conditions. The original image and the NDL are merged (stacked) into a single image before application of ACTS. Above all other considerations, it is simple to do using Word and PowerPoint.

It is an approach that may cause outrage, mirth or ridicule among image manipulation specialists because there are more elegant image manipulation methods for colour enhancement. Sorry guys. Don’t be frothing at the mouth like that…very unattractive…makes a terrible mess on the carpet.

So yes,  there is another way to do this ACTS+NDL approach called Colour Enhancement and actually NASA do use that technique somewhat on images from space but not often for surface imagery. It much cleverer than this nuts and bolts approach of mine.

Anywhere, here are the rather interesting results of applying ACTS+NDL to Fig 3.3.a:

Fig 3.11.b
Fig 3.11.b – ACTS+NDL Version of the Fig 3.3.a

At first sight this looks ridiculous…it did to me – a ham-fisted attempt to hand colour parts of the image or just an oversaturated colour image invalid for analysis – this will be dismissed as oversaturated blocks of pixels

Please keep looking at this image hard and think carefully about what you are seeing.

Where are these colours coming from?

The blocks appear in front of rocks and sand and block out the background and are coherent will small irregular features in the image. There can be little doubt that we are seeing our translucent and transparent protuberances and what do you know…they are everywhere! Well that is interesting.

It is easy to assume, as I did, that this was just lighting…the blues were in the shadows and they are but some are in the sunshine and not everywhere in the shadows, some shadows had blues others red. The reds are everywhere! Yellows and greens are predominant in sunshine but there they are in the shadows as well. It is unrelated to different areas of image brightness. That dog will not hunt!

There are blocks, squares and columns that do owe something to oversaturated picture elements but careful examination reveals other shapes that are nothing to do with the rocks but are the tinted transparent/translucent objects in front of the rocks.

Interestingly, the blocks of colour confirm the coloured arrows in Fig 3.10.a. Also the position and distribution of these blocks are specific to different locations in the image and not uniformly distributed. There are reds, reddish pink, yellow, yellow-green, blue-green, dark blue and the odd small flecks of purple.

The ladies, bless them, among the Blog members may be able to see 10 times more tints than I have mentioned…oh, please let it be! Help me out ladies…your colour perception and vocabulary will surely put mine to shame…

We are dangerously close to the Full Monty (Fig 3.11.c) here. This is a completely saturated image and it is a sneeze away from ACTS. Too much and Flower Power Rules!

Fig 3.11.cpng
Fig 3.11.c – The Full Monty – What oversaturation really looks like – amazingly there is still useful image information here but you would need to be a Predator to easily understand it.

Regardless of the many legitimate objections that imaging experts may have, the final inescapable observation is that ACTS+NDL helps to reveal transparent protuberances consistently and with acceptable repeatability that can be detected by other techniques like IBCM, Blue Green Tint and the examination of the original raw image at high magnification. It helps to make the invisible visible

If ACTS + NDLdoes the job, even badly, then it is down to the skill of the analyst to interpret the imagery. It is not an elegant Image Analysis Technique…it is a horrid elephant gun of a technique used to kill a tiny mouse of invisibility, but when the Analyst has to review image elements which are essentially nearly invisible, any dirty trick that helps will do.

This is not about academic niceties; it is only about getting the job done.

What about false colour images? Yes, what about false colour images. ACTS is simple fast and honest as it only amplifies existing colours in the images…it does replace existing colours with false high visibility colours added into an image. It merely amplifies the existing colour information in an image and for all its warts and monstrous carbuncles because of that I love the technique.

Mars has a pretty tedious colour scheme…shades of beige mostly…it must be all that sand and rock! Well believe me when I say, fellow blog members ACTS+NDL will set you free from all of that. Never mind pareidolia, psychedelia shall reveal all. Here’s how…

Take any as-published Curiosity raw image of terrain off one of the many Internet sites available, cut and paste them into PowerPoint (because you can do stuff there much easier than you can do it in Word).

Insert a rectangle shape into the PowerPoint slide. Click and drag it over the image you have selected. You should now have a blue rectangle hiding your image.

Fill with Black Text 1, Lighter 50%, that is the shade of black at the top of the Black Column in Theme Colours. Select None for shape outline colour.

Click on the rectangle, select <Format Shape> from the Drop Down. Set Transparency to 70%.

Et voila…You have your NDL (Neutral Density Layer) – You should see a muddy version of your image. Super!

Select the image and your NDL by a Click & Drag around them. Copy and Paste a new combined image+NDL. 

Drag the NDL off the original image and delete the image. Keep the NDL for your next image. You will want to try this again and again and again.

Click on your merged image to select it. Click on <Picture Tools Format> Tab. 

Click on <Colour> Tab

Colour Saturation is at the top of the Drop Down click the far right option.

Next down is Colour Tone – click the far left option.

Back off on both adjustments to get a sensible balance of colours…adjust Image Brightness and Contrast as needed.

And Robert is your uncle!

Post to your favourite social media…with some vague off the cuff comment like “Been finding cMaLF on Mars today with Pochi Mikan!”We are going for mysterious and enigmatic here. No spoilers.  😀

By the way…please try not to use the word “Awesome!” Lay off that poor word. It has been about beaten to death. I always feel like I am about to meet my Maker when I hear that word and it usually turns out to be something pretty mundane like a cup of coffee or a bacon sarny…not something I would ever feel in awe of really.

I highly recommend some of our wonderful English hyperbole…Simply Spiffing, Top Hole Old Thing, Wizard Prang Old Bean, The Bees Knees, Good Show, Absolutely Gobsmacking, Totally Bril, Fab, Tickety Boo, Cheeky but I Liked It…

If you like what we are trying to do here do please paste a link to this site. Any help appreciated… 😉

To my American  members, I extend my deepest apologies for all the weird Brit spelling in the Blog. Increasingly, we speak different languages.

On the serious side…To inject something that may be scientifically useful into the fun stuff of messing about with ACTS+NDL…could the boys kindly take images from the first 1,000 Sols of Curiosity imagery and the girls select from the 1,001 Sols onwards. Do please select at random any way you choose.

KEEP YOUR RESULTS…We will try to use them later.

What you can expect to find is shown below…

ACTS+NDL Example
3 hours worth of ACTS+NL observations cut and pasted into A4 size word Documents – Note Black Page Colour to minimise peripheral distractions

Rules – Medium Shot to Medium Close Up Images of Martian Terrain only...that is a bit closer than what we have been looking at for this analysis to images equivalent to about 1/4 of that frame size. We want a nice random sample of similar images of rocks and sand.  MCU would be about the size of the red square in the image below:

Example of the size of image framing that should be used for the ACTS analysis of imagery exercise

Using more sophisticated software that has purpose written plugins will yield far more impressive results based on a controlled application of similar techniques to ACTS+NDL but not here on this Blog which keeps stuff simple using available and likely pre-existing software on most people’s computers.

We are going to change gears now. Our first research project.

Research of any kind, needs a theory to test. Here is our theory, which we can easily derive from the imagery we have been analysing and is brought home finally in the ACTS+NDL adjusted image (Fig 3.3.b) and more so I hope by the members ACTS+NDL experiment.

The more alert members will be well ahead of me no doubt.

This is the proposition that will be analysed over the coming blogs using the techniques explained so far namely IBCM, Colour Tinting and ACTS+NDL using Word, PowerPoint, GIMP. Google and the image sources (there are a number of those).

Rocks on Mars are different in appearance from those on Earth as, providing image resolution is adequate, it will be demonstrated that all rocks from the largest boulders to individual grains of sand have opaque, translucent or transparent protuberances which have a botanical/biological appearance. These may be located on, in or under the rock type considered.  (Complies with criterion CICPLFI-01).

There is a menu item for this blog. It is a PowerPoint with the title “CRITERIA FOR USING IMAGE ANALYSIS TO DETECT LIFE FORMS IN PLANETARY IMAGERY (CICPLFI_2013_5)”. Please try to view that before the next blog when there will be another PPT to demonstrate how the criteria can be satisfied by image analysis. If you have other suggested criteria that might be used to detect candidate Life Forms please add to comments for that video.

Try out the techniques you have learnt here for yourselves on any images you like. See what you can find to help demonstrate this unusual proposition. Find suitable images using Google, crank up the magnification to (+)500% Google Zoom and see what you can find.

The assignment for next Blog is:

Find a rock in Gale Crater, from available imagery and adequate resolution that does NOT show these transparent/translucent protuberances…

Good luck…you will need it.

The catch is that you MUST apply all of the techniques that have been explained, to analyse the image of the rock…

IBCM (Image Brightness and Contrast & Magnification) / BGT (Blue Green Tint)/ ACTS+NDL (Adjusted Colour Tone & Saturation + Neutral Density Layer (70% Transparent). 

I appreciate that this was a long hard slog of a blog…yet again. Sorry.

They will get shorter eventually, that is a promise.

I know that, deep in your hearts, many of you will believe that we found the descendent of a Martian marine worm and it would be quite wonderful if that were the case; but…reality is we really didn’t and couldn’t do that!! 😀

Nevermind. We did find a fairly convincing, maybe candidate Martian life form orif you believe NASA’s outlook on life on Mars, we found a very unique rock totally different from anything that NASA has found on Mars to date.

We have discussed a method that will help us see near invisible protuberances more easily. That will come in very handy in future.

We have completed an initial, albeit rushed image analysis of our perhaps cMaLF and that, first time out, is not too shoddy. So win if we are right and win if we are wrong.

Well done chaps and chapesses! Absolutely wizard show…spot on! Tea anyone?

Find another example of this maybe cMaLF and it will become a serious contender for true cMaLF Status. Find it and you will win a Pochi Mikan Star of Excellence and our “funny looking rock” just might grab NASA‘s attention. Don’t worry too much about their opinion though because you can read their lips without even seeing them “It’s a R O C K!!!” 😀

Take good care of yourselves and those around you

Hope to see you again here for the next Blog.

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