A closer look at Endeavour…

So, what’s all this fuss about Endeavour crater, then? Wasn’t Victoria Crater amazing enough? Well, yes, it was amazing, with all those capes and cliffs and bays, but Endeavour is much bigger and offers even more spectacular views, so that’s where Oppy is now headed. The problem is, Endeavour is so far away it will be perhaps another year before Oppy reaches its mountainous rim and can even think about scaling those hills and peering down into, and across, the crater, and the rover has already lasted many times longer than it was designed to, so it could literally die any day. But with nowhere else to go after Victoria, Oppy’s drivers and techs decided to strike out for Endeavour rather than just drive around and around Victoria until the rover died of old age, so all we can do is cross our fingers that she makes it…

Let’s take a look at a wide-angle view of Endeavour to begin with…

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It’s a BIG crater, much, much bigger than Victoria, and there’s – being realistic here – no way that Oppy will be able to drive around it, or even down into its centre – if it succeeds in reaching its edge. But there’s a fair chance it WILL reach its edge, and if it does then it will arrive at the curve of mountains – and the break in them – at around the 10pm position on that image up there. So, what’s that area like?

Well, today some fellow members of the popular unmannedspaceflight.com forum found some HiRISE pics of that area of the crater buried in the MRO Public Data Release, so I went to one of those pictures and made some very high magnification crops of it. Here’s what I got… (as usual with WordPress blogs, please click on the images to bring up more detailed, larger versions)

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You can see where that particular area is by looking at the wide-angle view on the top left. It’s a fascinating area, a lone hill of some kind. Let’s look at it in more detail…

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Looks like there’s some kind of valley or rille running around the outside, doesn’t it? Two small areas – on the far left and far right – caught my eye, too…

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.. and…

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What’s going on there? What kind of geological processes are cutting into that material? Fascinating!

Then there’s this intriguing feature, to the south-west of the previous one…

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If anyone has a clue what’s happening there, please tell me! Let’s look at this area in more detail, too…

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… and…

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I’m not even going to try to interpret what we’re seeing there, I just think it’s a fascinating area.

Further south the real mountains begin, and we this terrain at the northern end of the range…

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Now, if we look more closely at the terrain at the very “tip” of that range, we see this…

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… and again it looks like there’s some kind of sinuous rille… type… thing… running moat-like around the foot of the mountains… :-O

Finally (for now), much further south we find this feature…

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… which looks almost like a “ramp” of material extending out into the crater from the terrain around it. Um…

Anyway, no scientific analysis here, I’m just shining a spotlight on the amazing landforms around this amazing crater. If anyone wants to post comments telling me what they actually are, that would be great. If not, no problem, I just hope people enjoy looking at the pictures. :-)

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2 Responses to A closer look at Endeavour…

  1. enceladus75 says:

    Hey, great blog. Let’s hope that Oppy can make it to those fascinating mountains at the rim of Endeavour crater. Clearly, there are a lot of very interesting geological feratures not yet encountered by the rover.

    And to think that, during Oppy’s first year, I considered Meridiani to be as flat and vertically featureless as a car park. I can’t wait for those tantalising hills in the distance of Oppy’s images at Victora to get closer and closer!

  2. Ben says:

    Hi Stu; Love your poetry.
    I am a geologist who posts a lot on the yellow forum and am pleased with what you plan to do.
    Have looked at the images and noted some of the things you point out and a few more.
    Have some tentative ideas about what we may be seeing and will contribute my thoughts shortly.
    In hindsight I wish this had been the primary target as there is a lot of geology to unravel around Endeavour.

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