Oppy reaches the Chocolate Hills…

No, Oppy hasn’t crept into the Willy Wonka factory and stumbled upon some kind of bizarre cocoa sculpture, some of the rocks at Concepcion Crater have actually been named the “Chocolate Hills”! Why? Well, according to my great friend and fellow Mars explorer, Rui Borges, the sailing ship, Concepcion, after which this crater has been named, was burned on an island in the Philipines, called Bohol Island, and now, thanks to Rui pointing this out to the MER team,  some of the rocks being seen by Oppy are being named after places and features on that island. The island has some hills called the Chocolate Hills, so now does Concepcion crater, too!

I know, I know, you couldn’t make it up, could you! :-)

It seems certain that there’ll be a lot of things here named after places on Bohol Island, so let’s take a look at it. First of all, where is it? It’s here…

And Bohol Island itself looks like this…

It might be helpful to have a map of Bohol handy, so we can see which places and features Concepcion’s rocks and boulders etc are named after in the days ahead…

You can see the “Chocolate Hills” are just below the centre of the island, and ‘m sure you’re wondering what they look like, right? Well, here you are – and I think you’ll be as amazed as I was by the view… they’re beautiful!

They don’t look real, do they? They look like something from AVATAR! But no, they are real, and if you look at this beautiful panorama from the Bohol website I found, you can see why they’re such a huge tourist attraction on Bohol.

Anyway, that’s where Concepcion’s names will be coming from…

Back to today’s images – which have literally just come down, and are a real study of the Hills. Here’s what we can see. First one of the original black and white ‘raw’ images…

Add two more, taken through different coloured filters, put them into some image processing software, mess about with skillfully manipulate and calibrate them, and you get this out of the other end…

Let’s take a look at that in 3D…

…and if we look more closely at the broken edge of the rock on the left we can actually see some of those famous “concretion berries” on the end of their stalks, soon to break off and fall away…

That’s a very interesting rock, don’t you think? I’m sure Oppy will be paying very close attention to it.

Another 3D view, with a wider angle this time…

You can still see the Chocolate Hills down at the bottom left there, but you can also see a lot of boulders, rocks and impact debris piled up too. It’s the fact that these rocks are sitting so exposed, and aren’t covered by dust, that suggests the crater is very young – well, very young in martian terms, still ancient to us!

Another view, this time of the other side of the crater…

Oppy could spend months exploring this crater and still not take a proper look at every rock!

More pictures soon… hope you’re all enjoying the road trip as we walk beside Opportunity… :-)

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5 Responses to Oppy reaches the Chocolate Hills…

  1. leo says:

    this is great!!! i am from bohol!

  2. Steve Schaper says:

    I figure it had to be something other than the Conception, as that would imply discovery or arrival at or around March 25.

  3. Pingback: Carnival of Space #140 « Lights in the Dark

  4. Drhoz says:

    that Bohol Panorama link doesn’t seem to be working

  5. frezcah pancho banticel says:

    bohol chocolate hill was one of the hottest hill here in philippines…

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