larger view

In M07-05177 we have another crater floor pond, again full of floating objects like the ones we saw in M04-00604; but this time there are at least two important differences. For one, the sunlight is glinting off the surface of the liquid (the other was in shade) and illuminating the floaters far more effectively. For another, the resolution in this image is finer. Here you can see much more clearly that each floater does indeed consist of a dark nucleus with a paler or more transparent outer portion. Remember what I predicted with M04-00604 near Darwin? Well...

another view

You wouldn't expect this at such a large scale, but the liquid presents the appearance of having very strong surface tension -- both through the smoothness of its outline and in the way the floaters distribute themselves. On Mars under a 38% earth-normal gravity the surface tension of any liquid would have less weight to fight against, certainly, so it makes sense that water WOULD tend to hold a stronger meniscus than it does here and would therefore appear quite jelly-like. Again, along with this I'm assuming it has to be a highly concentrated salt water of some sort to sustain liquidity at a wide enough temperature range that we'd be able to see it that way "so often."

branching visible here

At that time I thought maybe the fuzzy perimeters consisted of branches unresolvable at that scale. In this version we can now, just barely, see that there ARE branches of some sort issuing from those nuclei. The light portions also show some radial granularity here that certainly appears to transition these structures into finer networks.

The scale for this shot is 2.76 meters per pixel, compared to the 4.15 meters per pixel in M04-00604. That plus the more favorable lighting makes all the difference.

view of pond

The context photo and reduced srip at left have false color. The original-scale images above are contrast-enhanced.
The outer diameters of these floaters average around 60 meters (200 ft). The opposite extreme seems to cut off at around 6 to 8 meters. Note that the size distribution appears bimodal in that the floaters seem to favor the endpoints of that range. There are some of intermediate size, to be sure, but not nearly as many as you'd expect from a random process. This is a further circumstantial argument in favor of a biological system.








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