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Lawsuit Against NASA Based On Opportunity Rover Raw B&W Images

Raw NASA B&W Sol 3528 image has round object in same place where
“surprise rock” showed up in Sol 3540 image, 12 Martian days later.

© 2014 by Linda Moulton Howe


— “Petitioner immediately recognized that bowl-shaped structure,
hereafter referred to as Sol 3540, as resembling a mushroom-like
fungus, a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and
cyanobacteria, and which on Earth is known as Apothecium.”

- Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D., pro se, filed lawsuit against NASA on Jan. 27, 2014

— “Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us! ...the rock is white around the outside,
in the middle there's a low spot that is dark red. It looks like a jelly donut
and it just plain appeared and we haven't driven over that spot.”

- Steve Squyres, Ph.D., Cornell Univ., Mars Opportunity rover
scientist speaking Jan. 16th, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab

The round “donut” object referenced in “Exhibit B, Sol 3528 Germinating”
by the Rhawn Joseph lawsuit against NASA in raw B&W images from
Sol 3528 12 Martian days before Sol 3540 “surprise rock” image
announced by planetary geologist Steve Squyres at Cal Tech.


February 5, 2014 Albuquerque, New Mexico - A self-described astrobiologist, neuropsychologist and author identifying himself as “Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. pro se” (representing himself) filed a lawsuit against NASA on January 27, 2014, in the U. S. District Court Northern District of California “for a writ of mandamus compelling NASA to perform a duty to thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate a putative biological organism on Mars identified/discovered by petitioner and referred to by NASA as: 'Unlike Anything We Have Seen Before.'”

Rhawn Joseph argues that he “immediately recognized a mushroom-like fungus (Apothecium), a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and cyanobacteria.” Joseph wants NASA to photograph the object more closely and correct the identification. On Earth, Apothecium is a disk-shaped or cup-shaped ascocarp of some lichens and the fungi Ascomycetes.

This all started on January 16, 2014, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, when Steve Squyres, Ph.D., Cornell University and Mars Opportunity Rover scientist, presented current Martian data and images that included recent Opportunity photographs of the same ground on Mars where Opportunity has been stopped for over a month because of weather. Prof. Squyres described the unexpected and sudden appearance of an object not there 12 Martian days before: “It looks like a jelly donut” with dark red inside. Apparently Apothecium on Earth also is dark red inside. See: Ars Technica.

Left: NASA color image of surprise “rock” announced January 16, 2014,
as suddenly showing up in Mars Opportunity image where the rover had been stopped
waiting for better weather. The “rock” was not in same spot 12 Martian sols,
or days, before. Right: Profile of Earth Apothecium, part lichen and part fungi.


Above comparison of two raw Pancam photographs from sols 3528 and 3540
in Opportunity's mission (a sol is a Martian day). NOTE: White angle on
far right is a digital slide indicator, not on Mars. Where did doughnut-sized rock
in the center of the photograph on right and below color image come from 12 sols later?
Prof. Squyres presented current Martian data and images before a “10 Years of Roving Mars”
event at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in Pasadena, CA,
on January 16, 2014. Image by NASA/JPL-CALTECH.


Rhawn Joseph V. NASA

Paraphyses are part of the fertile spore-bearing layer in certain fungi. Wikipedia.


Where Did Sol 3528 Images Above Come From?

I emailed the above lawsuit with Exhibit A and B images to retired U. S. Naval Flight Officer Captain Mark Wood asking him if he could independently locate the round object in “Exhibit B - Sol 3528 Germinating” of the above lawsuit by Rhawn Joseph against NASA.

Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master’s Degree in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University. He is also a Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer (P.E.). He was screened for Aviation Command and was assigned as the Executive Officer of the first Reserve Patrol Squadron to be assigned the new P-3C Update III as well as the Commissioning Commanding Officer of a Reserve Patrol Squadron Augment Unit (VPSAU).

Mark emailed back after he had studied this NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory website entitled Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Opportunity: All Raw Images, Panoramic Camera: Sol 3528 see bottom Row 6.

Source URL:


Panoramic Cam Sol 3528
Row 6, Bottom Left to Right
Frames 1, 2 and 3 Enlarged

Mark Wood placed yellow circles around three different images in the above raw images that appear to show a round object in the position referenced in the lawsuit at the same site 12 Martian days BEFORE the “surprise rock” image announced by planetary geologist Steve Squyres at Cal Tech.

The round “donut” object referenced in “Exhibit B, Sol 3528 Germinating”
by the Rhawn Joseph lawsuit against NASA in these black and white image enlargements
of Sol 3528 12 Martian days before Sol 3540 “surprise rock” image announced
by planetary geologist Steve Squyres at Cal Tech. Source is NASA Jet Propulsion
Laboratory website entitled Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Opportunity:
All Raw Images, Panoramic Camera: Sol 3528 bottom Row 6, left to right frames
1, 2 and 3. See:


So Why Doesn't NASA Color Image
of Sol 3528 Have Same Round Object
As Seen In Above B&W Sol 3528 Images?

But when Mark Wood compared the black and white raw images for Sol 3528 to the color images released by NASA as “Sol 3528 Before” in contrast to “Sol 3540 After,” the color photo does not show the the round object visible in the raw B&W images.

Source URL:
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.


NASA Press Release After Planetary Geologist Steve Squyers Announcement of the "Surprise Rock" Before JPL Audience On January 16, 2014, at CalTech:

Rock That Appeared in Front of Opportunity on “Murray Ridge”

Above is Sol 3528 Before and Sol 3540 After images of the same patch of ground in front of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity 13 days apart that documents the arrival of a bright rock onto the scene. The rover had completed a short drive just before taking the second image, and one of its wheels likely knocked the rock -- dubbed "Pinnacle Island" -- to this position. The rock is about the size of a doughnut.

The images are from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). The one on the left is from 3,528th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Dec. 26, 2013). The one on the right, with the newly arrived rock, is from Sol 3540 (Jan. 8, 2014). Much of the rock is bright-toned, nearly white. A portion is deep red in color. Pinnacle Island may have been flipped upside down when a wheel dislodged it, providing an unusual circumstance for examining the underside of a Martian rock.

The site is on "Murray Ridge," a section of the rim of Endeavour Crater where Opportunity is working on north-facing slopes during the rover's sixth Martian winter.

Also see 092412 Earthfiles: Why Is NASA Faking Gale Crater Images On Mars?

More Information:

If any Earthfiles viewer has more information about the Opportunity Rover image of the “surprise rock,” please email: All requests for confidentiality are honored.

More Information:

For further reports about Mars and rover missions, please see Earthfiles Archive. Some examples below.

• 03/01/2013 — Strange Martian Moon Phobos - Could Its Dust Have Evidence of Life?
• 09/24/2012 — Updated: Why Is NASA Faking Gale Crater Images On Mars?
• 07/27/2012 — Was Biggest Canyon in the Solar System Scarred by Plasma?
• 06/14/2011 — Part 2: Google Mars Update with Planetary Scientist James Bell
• 06/11/2011 — Part 1: Is This A Structure On Mars? Planetary Scientist Replies.
• 12/24/2009 — Does the Allen Hills Meteorite from Mars Contain Fossilized Microbial Life?
• 02/27/2009 — Part 2: Silicas - and Hot Springs? - Could Mean Ancient Life On Mars
• 01/25/2009 — Methane Mystery On Mars
• 08/05/2008 — Perchlorate Discovery by Phoenix Lander Does Not End Search for Life On Mars
• 05/29/2008 — Phoenix Robotic Arm Preparing to Dig Into Martian Permafrost
• 12/16/2005 — MARSIS Radar Looking Below Surface of Mars
• 08/24/2005 — Dust Devils and "Lemon Rinds" on Mars
• 03/26/2005 — Spirit Rover Finds Magnesium Sulfate in Columbia Hills on Mars.
• 02/26/2005 — Mars Spirit Rover Discovered Boundary Between Gusev Lava and Older, Water-Soaked Rocks in "Columbia Hills"
• 04/02/2004 — Updates on Spirit and Opportunity Rovers
• 03/31/2004 — Methane on Mars - Biology? Volcanic?
• 03/11/2004 — Updated - Mars Spirit and Opportunity Sol 65 and Sol 46
• 03/08/2004 — Updates from NASA's Rovers and ESA's Mars Express
• 03/05/2004 — Part 3 - Mars: A Sulfate Salty Planet - Could It Have Sulfate-Loving Microbes?
• 03/03/2004 — Part 1 - Mars: Meridiani Planum Was Once "Drenched With Water and Habitable"
• 03/01/2004 — Opportunity Grinds Bedrock; Spirit Ready to Grind "Humphrey"
• 02/10/2004 — Part 1 - Opportunity Investigating Bedrock; Spirit's Headed for Bonneville Crater
• 01/31/2004 — Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Soil and Confirms Hematite
• 01/31/2004 — Is There Living Green Algae in the Gusev Crater on Mars?
• 01/24/2004 — Updated - Spirit Alive, But in "Critical" Condition. Mars Express Sees Water Ice and Ancient River Channel
• 01/21/2004 — Spirit Rover's First Martian Soil Analysis Has Surprises
• 01/09/2004 — Robotic "Geologists" on Mars
• 12/18/2003 — Beagle 2 Spacecraft Will Land on Mars Christmas Day.


NASA JPL Mars Exploration Rovers:

NASA Explore Mars: Curiosity and Gale Crater:

Curiosity Rover Mission:



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