The Glory of Santa Maria…

The latest batch of images to come back from Oppy have, I think it’s safe to say, confirmed that Santa Maria was definitely worth stopping off at on our way to Endeavour. This crater, which looks so small and average at first glance, has turned out to be one of the most impressive, most dramatic-looking places visited during the entire MER mission. NASA has already said that Oppy will stay here until February, and if these new images are anything to go by she’s going to need every sol of that time to do the crater justice. It’s a glorious place for geology and exploration, and just unashamed sight-seeing.

So, here you are, the latest views of Santa Maria…

Aren’t those views just stunning?! There’s so much to see here – the light and dark dust dunes on the floor and piled up against that northern wall; the crumbling outcrops; the boulders scattered all around… I bet the geologists at JPL and at laboratories across the US across the world in fact, are feeling like NASA’s given them an early Christmas present! :-)

But, again, I think this place only really comes to life when you see it in 3D, so, glasses on folks, and get ready to be amazed…

And when you see this next image you really can imagine being there, on the edge of Santa Maria, gazing down into it, and gazing out across at the Meridiani desert beyond…

Oppy is clearly quite close to the edge to be getting these images, isn’t she? But how close? Well, this next image will show you – but if you aren’t too keen on heights, you might want to hold on to something before you look..!

YIKES!!! That must be just a couple of metres from the edge! That really is superb driving isn’t it?

Turning the other way, Oppy has now also had a much closer look at “Crocodile Tail Rock” which caused such a stir a few days ago. Here’s my first colourised image of it, confirming it is a fascinating rock…

… and in 3D…

Some more images will be down later today, perhaps the first filtered ones that will allow us to make true-colour views of the crater and its surroundings, but I think that’s enough for now! Finally, let’s take a look at exactly where Oppy is now, and where she might be going next…

I can’t wait to see what Oppy sees next…! :-)

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One Response to The Glory of Santa Maria…

  1. Monica, Houston, Texas says:

    Crocodile tail rock is fascinating; but, looking at the sand? it appears to be millions of little spheres – any idea what it is or the cause?

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