Cape York calls…

Oppy is now just 700m – less than a kilometre!!! – from Cape York, her ‘landfall’ on the rim of Endeavour Crater. We can now see the top of Cape York above the eastern horizon, looking like a long, low mound (sadly no Emerald City spires!), and the hilld on the farside of Endeavour are now being seen in more detail than ever before, their craters, ridges and peaks slowly swimming into view. To the south east, the hills of the Tribulation Range (my name for the curve of hills on Endeavour’s south eastern edge) are looking beautiful, a little clearer and more detailed every day, and it wauld be a hard-hearted person not to feel tingles of excitement and anticipation every time a new batch of images comes in…

So, let’s take a look at where we are:

You can see from that how Opy has now steamed over the line marking the boundary between “No chance of seeing Cape York” and “Hmm, maybe!”, so no surprise we’re finally seeing the feature poking above the horizon. IT doesn’t look much yet, but it’s there…

It becomes even more obvious if you take that image and stretch it vertically…

Last night some images taken with Oppy’s colour filters came back,. allowing image manipulators (doesn’t that sound grand! haha!) like myself to create a few new colour images showing what Oppy is seeing now. This one shows one side of a high-rimmed crater (Mariner 9, I think) she drove past a couple of days ago…

And here’s a 3D pic showing a rubble field Oppy passed…

Wow, that’s something isn’t it? You can easily imagine walking around those rocks… best be careful tho, some of them look very sharp, it’s not a very spacesuit-friendly place… :-)

But there was great celebration amongst rover fans last night when finally, finally some colour filter images of the eastern horizon came back, which meant we could make our very first colour portraits of Cape York and the hills beyond. Here’s my humble attempt at that first view of Cape York…

I know that’s not much to look at, but to me, personally, that’s a little piece of magic, because I’ve waited years, literally years to make that picture. In the days and months ahead we’ll see Cape York more clearly, we’ll see features on and around it, and on the hills opposite and around it too, but there’ll only ever be one “First colour image” of it for people like me, and there it is. :-)

Of course, if you stretch it and beat it about the head until it gives up its more subtle details, you see something like this…

Today is another driving day, so by this time tomorrow we’ll have a lot more images, maybe some shoing more detail on Cape York, or maybe showing the approach to Botany Bay. I don’t really care at this point; it’s just incredible to think that we’re almost there, on the edge of Endeavour, with wonders and wonder just over the horizon… :-)

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