Birthday updates.

I’ve had a very quiet birthday this year.

Other than my parents visiting I didn’t do anything really special.

I did, however, get a nice pressie of a Breville bread maker.. The Anthony Warrell-Thompson one. It’s going to have to live on top of the fridge as it’s too big to store elsewhere. For operation I have a nice space on my folding table which also gives enough space to mix the ingredients.

The first loaf tasted nice though it does seem to go stale quite quickly, though this may be due to the loaf sitting in the open rather than being put into a bag after it cooled.

Yesterday, as well as making the first loaf, my dad and myself re-hung the side gate extending the post, moving the hunges outwards and the brakets on the gate itself. The gate now opens fully flat to the wall. All I have to do now is fit the hook to the wall and the eye on the gate.

Opportunity, more results..

Well, today, on the BBC News web site as part of the story of Opportunity’s initial results on the rock strata in the crater:-

Principal investigator Steve Squyres told a news conference in Pasadena, California that preliminary readings with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) show rocks in the crater outcrop are loaded with the element sulphur.

“I’m not going to give you quantitative numbers, but it is maybe a few more times sulphur than we have seen at any location on Mars,” said Professor Squyres.

Well, now, what was my prediction for the white rock? That’s right, Calcium Sulphate. It’s looking more and more like that’s what they are.

Not only this, but looking at the close-up images on the rover web site, the rocks show polygonal cracking, suggesting being deposited in water and then drying out repeatedly. In addition to this there are balls of some other compound which suggest the possibility of wave action during precipitation of the salts. The possible cross bedding I thought I saw turned out to be an optical illusion caused by the mis-alignment of ajoining broken blocks.

Of course, this is still only speculation. I’m not even sure that the rovers have enough equipment to make the final resolution of what the rocks are really made of.