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Opportunity -Sol: 85. Lichen-like specimens approximately 2 to 8 mm in length. Orientation of specimens on tops of rocks appears to be affected by gravity, or erosion of the rock surface, and may differ depending on if they are or are not sheltered from the wind; i.e. those on opposite sides of rocks vs tops of rocks may face different directions.

Opportunity -Sol: 85. Lichen-like specimens approximately 2 to 8 mm in length. Orientation of specimens on tops of rocks appears to be affected by gravity, or erosion of the rock surface, and may differ depending on if they are or are not sheltered from the wind; i.e. those on opposite sides of rocks vs tops of rocks may face different directions.

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Technical Report
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Throughout its mission at Eagle Crater, Meridiani Planum, the rover Opportunity photographed thousands of mushroom-lichen-like formations with thin stalks and spherical caps, clustered together in colonies attached to and jutting outward from the tops and sides of rocks. Those on top-sides were often collectively oriented, via their caps and stalks...

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Context 1
... there is no evidence that the stalked-mushroom-shaped specimens or a single isolated sphere lying loosely atop the soil within Eagle Crater, were individually or selectively examined and analyzed by Opportunity's suite of sampling instruments for the presence of hematite. Instead, individual samples inferred to contain hematite consisted of oblong rocks (see Figure 6 in Belle et al. 2004). Claims about hematite were also based on the spectral signatures of false colors ( Soderblom et al. 2004), panoramic images, and claims about the averaging of high and low "temperatures" ( Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) when the temperature sensors had failed (Glotch and Bandfield 2006); and with spectra selectively eliminated until what remained was interpreted as similar to the spectral signature of hematite photographed in a laboratory ( Christensen et al. 2004), when the results were a "poor fit" for hematite and there were significant problems with calibration ( Glotch and Banfield, 2006). ...
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... the data that was claimed to have been obtained from single spheres were obtained from panoramic views of the landscape ( Christensen et al. 2004;Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) and from flat oblong rocks which were then inexplicably mischaracterized as spheres (see Figure 6 in Bell et al. 2004). Not only did Bell et al (2004) utilize multiple images and spectra from a single large oblong rock, but their data was also based on panoramic photographs depicting multiple features, and was contaminated by solar radiance, atmospheric irradiance, surface temperature and albedo which could only be guessed at and estimated, thus confounding the data. ...
Context 3
... there is no evidence that the stalked-mushroom-shaped specimens or a single isolated sphere lying loosely atop the soil within Eagle Crater, were individually or selectively examined and analyzed by Opportunity's suite of sampling instruments for the presence of hematite. Instead, individual samples inferred to contain hematite consisted of oblong rocks (see Figure 6 in Belle et al. 2004). Claims about hematite were also based on the spectral signatures of false colors ( Soderblom et al. 2004), panoramic images, and claims about the averaging of high and low "temperatures" ( Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) when the temperature sensors had failed (Glotch and Bandfield 2006); and with spectra selectively eliminated until what remained was interpreted as similar to the spectral signature of hematite photographed in a laboratory ( Christensen et al. 2004), when the results were a "poor fit" for hematite and there were significant problems with calibration ( Glotch and Banfield, 2006). ...
Context 4
... the data that was claimed to have been obtained from single spheres were obtained from panoramic views of the landscape ( Christensen et al. 2004;Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) and from flat oblong rocks which were then inexplicably mischaracterized as spheres (see Figure 6 in Bell et al. 2004). Not only did Bell et al (2004) utilize multiple images and spectra from a single large oblong rock, but their data was also based on panoramic photographs depicting multiple features, and was contaminated by solar radiance, atmospheric irradiance, surface temperature and albedo which could only be guessed at and estimated, thus confounding the data. ...
Context 5
... there is no evidence that the stalked-mushroom-shaped specimens or a single isolated sphere lying loosely atop the soil within Eagle Crater, were individually or selectively examined and analyzed by Opportunity's suite of sampling instruments for the presence of hematite. Instead, individual samples inferred to contain hematite consisted of oblong rocks (see Figure 6 in Belle et al. 2004). Claims about hematite were also based on the spectral signatures of false colors ( Soderblom et al. 2004), panoramic images, and claims about the averaging of high and low "temperatures" ( Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) when the temperature sensors had failed (Glotch and Bandfield 2006); and with spectra selectively eliminated until what remained was interpreted as similar to the spectral signature of hematite photographed in a laboratory ( Christensen et al. 2004), when the results were a "poor fit" for hematite and there were significant problems with calibration ( Glotch and Banfield, 2006). ...
Context 6
... the data that was claimed to have been obtained from single spheres were obtained from panoramic views of the landscape ( Christensen et al. 2004;Klingelhöfer et al. 2004) and from flat oblong rocks which were then inexplicably mischaracterized as spheres (see Figure 6 in Bell et al. 2004). Not only did Bell et al (2004) utilize multiple images and spectra from a single large oblong rock, but their data was also based on panoramic photographs depicting multiple features, and was contaminated by solar radiance, atmospheric irradiance, surface temperature and albedo which could only be guessed at and estimated, thus confounding the data. ...

Citations

... Although the true color of the landscape, outcrops, sand, dust, dirt, and rocks are unknown, composite false color images were generated by the Opportunity's panoramic camera's nanometer filters (Soderblom et al. 2004). Based on these "color composites" massive amounts of solid blues and greens were painted throughout the lower landscape--and if true colors, these blues and green would not be indicative of hematite, but pools of water and vast fields of chlorophyll-containing living organisms (Joseph et al. 2020b). Hematite is not green or blue. ...
... Each image It is important to stress that the statistical method is based in relative measures and makes no assumptions about the positioning of the camera. Second, there is no evidence of significant wind effects at the site between Sols 1145 and 1148 (Joseph et al. 2020b). Third, there are distinctive features at the edges of the spheres (e.g. ...
... Specifically, as reviewed byJoseph et al,. (2020b) ground level wind speeds between 40 to 70 m/h are required to move coarse grained soil on Mars, and no strong winds, dust clouds, dust devils, or other indications of strong winds were observed, photographed, or reported during those three days in this vicinity of Mars. Hence, there is no evidence these spherical specimens were uncovere ...
Preprint
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Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments. Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs (Basidiomycota). After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals--some with stalks--appeared atop the crests of old tracks. Sequences document that thousands of black arctic "araneiforms" grow up to 300 meters in the Spring and disappear by Winter; a pattern repeated each Spring and which may represent massive colonies of black fungi, mould, lichens, algae, methanogens and sulfur reducing species. Black fungi-bacteria-like specimens also appeared atop the rovers. In a series of photographs over three days (Sols) white amorphous specimens within a crevice changed shape and location then disappeared. White protoplasmic-mycelium-like-tendrils with fruiting-body-like appendages form networks upon and above the surface; or increase in mass as documented by sequential photographs. Hundreds of dimpled donut-shaped "mushroom-like" formations approximately 1mm in size are adjacent or attached to these mycelium-like complexes. Additional sequences document that white amorphous masses beneath rock-shelters increase in mass, number, or disappear and that similar white-fungus-like specimens appeared inside an open rover compartment. Comparative statistical analysis of a sample of 9 spherical specimens believed to be fungal "puffballs" photographed on Sol 1145 and 12 specimens that emerged from beneath the soil on Sol 1148 confirmed the nine grew significantly closer together as their diameters expanded and some showed evidence of movement. Cluster analysis and a paired sample 't' test indicates a statistically significant size increase in the average size ratio over all comparisons between and within groups (P = 0.011). Statistical comparisons indicates that arctic "araneiforms" significantly increased in length in parallel following an initial growth spurt. Although similarities in morphology are not proof of life, growth, movement, and changes in shape and location constitute behavior and support the hypothesis there is life on Mars.
... That there may be life on Mars was first documented by the Viking Labeled Release Experiments (Levin & Straat 1997; the results of which, after being disputed, were again statistically reaffirmed (Bianciardi et al. 2012) and are now supported by numerous observations of Martian specimens resembling algae, lichens, and fungi on Mars (Dass, 2017;Levin et al. 1978;Joseph 2016;Joseph et al. 2019Joseph et al. , 2020aKrupa 2017;Rabb, 2018;Small 2015); and whichalong with other organisms--may be contributing to the seasonal fluctuations and summer-time increases in atmospheric oxygen and methane Joseph et al. 2020d,e) as respectively reported by Trainer et al. (2019) and Webster and colleagues (2018). Active biology is also indicated by the 23 fungi-like "'puffballs" that increased in size over a three-day period in the absence of any wind that could have somehow removed surrounding soil (Joseph et al. 2020d). ...
... That there may be life on Mars was first documented by the Viking Labeled Release Experiments (Levin & Straat 1997; the results of which, after being disputed, were again statistically reaffirmed (Bianciardi et al. 2012) and are now supported by numerous observations of Martian specimens resembling algae, lichens, and fungi on Mars (Dass, 2017;Levin et al. 1978;Joseph 2016;Joseph et al. 2019Joseph et al. , 2020aKrupa 2017;Rabb, 2018;Small 2015); and whichalong with other organisms--may be contributing to the seasonal fluctuations and summer-time increases in atmospheric oxygen and methane Joseph et al. 2020d,e) as respectively reported by Trainer et al. (2019) and Webster and colleagues (2018). Active biology is also indicated by the 23 fungi-like "'puffballs" that increased in size over a three-day period in the absence of any wind that could have somehow removed surrounding soil (Joseph et al. 2020d). ...
... Moreover, vast colonizes of lichen-mushroom-shaped specimens, with bulbous caps attached to rocks by stems, and collectively oriented skyward similar to photosynthesizing lichens on Earth, have been reported, whereas the possibility these may be "hematite" has been shown to be little more than speculation (Joseph, et al. 2020d). Then there are the specimens that resemble fossilized algae, acritarchs and stromatolites. ...
Chapter
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The dried lake beds of Gale Crater have been identified by NASA's rover crews as a likely source of fossils. Formations resembling fossilized stromatolites, algae, acritarchs and metazoans have been previously observed and reported in peer reviewed scientific periodicals. A detailed search of NASA's Gale Crater image-data-base was conducted with a focus on specific areas and days (sols) in which fossilized impressions of what may be metazoans have been observed. Formations resembling the fossilized remains of "Namacalathus," "Lophophorates," "Kimberella" and ichnofossils of burrowing "tube worms" (priapulids) were found. To assist in determining if these Martian specimens are abiogenic geological formations with a superficial resemblance to fossils, a terrestrial-pseudo-fossil image search was conducted employing all relevant key words, and no formations on Earth similar to those on Mars were found, other than genuine fossils. In addition, a quantitative statistical morphological analysis was performed comparing these Martian specimens with analog fossils and two pseudo-fossils from Earth. Formations observed in the dried lake beds of Gale Crater bear a statistically significant, nearly identical resemblance to eukaryotic fossils from the Ediacaran and Cambrian era on Earth but no statistical morphological similarity to pseudo-fossils.
... Fungal mucilage serves as a biological glue which binds soil particles together. Specimens resembling fungi have also been photographed on Mars (Dass, 2017;Joseph 2014Joseph , 2016Joseph et al. 2019Joseph et al. , 2020bRabb, 2015Rabb, , 2018Small 2018). ...
... It is believed that Martian water and ice may be stored in rocks (Mellon and Phillips 2001;Biemann et al., 1977) of which there are an abundance on Mars; rocks which may harbor microorganisms. In fact, dozens of mushroom-shaped specimens with stalks and stems and resembling lichens, have been photographed, by the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity growing on rocks (Joseph et al. 2019(Joseph et al. , 2020b. There is no known geological or weathering process which can sculpt mushroom-shaped rocks. ...
Article
Full-text available
The evidence for water on Mars is detailed and reviewed, and photographic evidence for moisture, ice, frost, and mud in the Gale Crater, is presented. In accordance with the predictions of Martinez et al. (2015), the authors document the presence of ice within as well as mud and wet soil on the outside of the aluminum wheels of the rover Curiosity on Sols 469, 472, 476, 528, 529, 597, 605, 610. The adhesion of soil and mud on the rover's aluminum wheels is direct evidence of moisture, and indirect evidence of biological activity which serves to bind, aggregate, and promote soil adhesion to metal surfaces. The implications for life on Mars, are discussed.
Chapter
Lichens successfully occur on Earth in a variety of ‘extreme' habitats including hot and cold deserts and in the Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine regions and are frequently the earliest ‘pioneer' organisms to colonize rock and soil. Hence, once the initial problems of lack of an intrinsic global magnetic field and low surface temperatures have been solved, lichens may have many potential advantages in the biological phase of terraforming Mars including facilitating rock weathering by both physical and chemical means and carrying out nitrogen and carbon fixation. This review describes four possible strategies whereby lichens could contribute to terraforming Mars: (1) encouraging the growth of putative indigenous lichens, (2) encouraging possible indigenous lichen symbionts, i.e., cyanobacteria, algae, and fungi, to form lichens, (3) inoculating lichen symbionts from Earth cultures, and (4) introducing terrestrial lichens to the surface as diaspores and/or thallus fragments. Although lichens may be able to potentially survive on Mars, there is no definitive proof that lichens or their symbionts currently survive on the planet. If terrestrial lichens are introduced to Mars, this would be best achieved in two phases by first spraying suspensions of asexual diaspores, such as isidia and soredia of suitable species, into the Martian atmosphere. This process may encourage the initial development of lichens on rock and soil and also provide algal symbionts for a second phase of lichen synthesis if compatible fungal spores from crustose species were to be subsequently disseminated.
Article
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Hundreds of tubular and spiral specimens resembling terrestrial tube worms and worm tubes were photographed in the soil and atop and protruding from “rocks” on Sols 177, 199 and 299 in the vicinity of Endurance Crater, Meridiani Planum. Dozens of these putative “worms” and tubes are up to 3 mm in size. These tubular specimens display twisting, bending, and curving typical of biology and are different from abiogenic structures. Morphological comparisons with living and fossilized tube worms and worm tubes also supports the hypothesis that the Martian tubular structures may be biological as they are similar and often nearly identical to their terrestrial counterparts. The literature concerning abiotic and biotic formation of mineralized tubular formations is reviewed and the Martian tubular structures meet the criteria for biology. In addition, larger “anomalous” oval-specimens ranging from 3 mm to 5 mm in diameter were photographed and observed to have web-like appendages reminiscent of crustacean pleopods. That marine organisms may have evolved and flourished in the vicinity of Endurance Crater, Meridiani Planum, was originally predicted by NASA’s rover Opportunity crew in 2004, 2005, and 2006. This area is believed to have hosted a briny body of water that was heated by hydrothermal vents; and these are favored habitats of tube worms. Further, all these specimens were photographed adjacent to vents in the surface and the mineralogy of Endurance Crater is similar to that produced by tube worms and their symbiotes. However, if any of these specimens are alive, fossilized, mineralized or dormant is unknown. Abiotic explanations cannot be ruled out and it cannot be stated with absolute certainty they are biological.
Article
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We present over 200 photographs that as a collective totality proves there is life on Mars. These include photos of Martian algae, microbial mats, stromatolites, lichens, fungi, fungus, fossils, tubular organisms; and sequential images documenting that Martian organisms are growing out of the ground, increasing in size, moving to new locations; and that fungi are engaging in reproductive behavior by shedding spores that produce embryonic fungus. This conclusive evidence represents the collective investigative efforts of several teams of scientific experts, 24 scientists in total, the names of whom are listed in the publications cited in the Reference section; each article discussing and providing scholarly references for the conclusions reached. This document consists almost entirely of photos and is arranged in 15 sections: (1) Algae and Microbial Mats; (2) Stromatolites; (3) Algae & Lichen-Algae; (4) Algae Fruiting Bodies and Networks of Calcium Oxalate; (5) Dimpled Lichens & Algae Fruiting Bodies; (6) Photosynthesis and Gas Bubbles; (7) Vast Colonies of Rock-Dwelling Lichens; (8) Fungal Puffballs (vs the Hematite Hoax); (9) Fungus, Spores, Reproduction, Embryonic Fungi; (10) Colonies Of Arctic Algae, Fungus, Mold, Lichens; (11) Growth, Movement, Behavior; (12) Fungus and Bacteria Growth on the Rovers; (13) Lichen Puffball Calcium Oxalate Fossils; (14) Fossils: Algae, Tube Worms, “Ediacarans,” Metazoans; (15) Tube Worms or Tubular Fungi? We conclude there is life on Mars.
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