Update…

So, thanks to the ever-generous Scott we now know where Oppy is heading, in the hope of finding a solar panel-friendly “Winter Haven” north-facing slope where she can spend the cold winter months. She’s heading here

And where *exactly* will she stop? We can’t know that in advance, they’ll have to scout out the area when they get there, but I think she’ll take a rest somewhere around here – I’ve added two “virtual” Oppys to give a sense of scale, but you’ll need to click on the image to enlarge it if you want to see them…

Wherever she parks up, Oppy will be on the edge of an absolutely fascinating area. Here’s a 3D image showing the landscape she’ll be surounded by…

But I’m getting a bit ahead of things here; it’d take a good week or so of non-stop driving to get there, and Oppy will be stopping to check out interesting features and objects along the way, so I’ll be surprised if Oppy reaches her Winter Haven before mid-November to be honest, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, quite a few new pictures have come back from Oppy, some showing landscape features in colour and in detail, others showing the wider angle Big Picture, so let’s have a quick catch-up…

This panorama shows that the terrain up ahead of Oppy is quite rough and rocky…

As usual, a 3D view shows it more clearly…

Now for something interesting.

Oppy has been taking – and is now returning – colour filter images of several outcrops/areas of roughened rock, which have been given what appear to be at first glance very odd names. Here they are:

This is “Tjakastad”…

…and here’s “Hooggenoeg”…

…and finally here’s “Onverwacht”…

A quick Google check shows that these features are all named after places in South Africa, approximately here…

…and it turns out that all those places have one fascinating thing in common: they’re places where unbelievably ancient fossils – amongs them the oldest fossils on Earth – have been found, in the 3bn+ years old rock of the “Barberton Greenstone Belt”, seen on this NASA image, below…

Yes, NASA really is naming rocks on Mars after fossil-bearing rocks on Earth. You can bet that even as you read this, the basement-dwelling, X-Files worshipping, tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists are blogging like crazy about how this is NASA either subtly announcing, or quietly preparing to announce, the discovery of fossils on Mars, thus proving, finally, that they were right all along – there IS life on Mars… :-)

Er, no. Much simpler explanation: NASA is naming very old geological features on Mars after very old geological features on Earth, to celebrate and pay tribute to those terrestrial places and their importance to science.

Anyway, there are lot of images in the pipeline, still to come back, but we do have enough colour filter images of Onverwacht to make a colour portrait, and here it is:

Now there are some very interesting features in that image. My eyes are drawn in particular to those rocks on the left which appear to have either lighter red-brown interiors, or have some kind of a red-brown coating on them. Those rocks are behind Oppy now, she drove past them, but I’m sure she’ll return to such a fascinating place, and I’m already looking forward to Oppy re-visiting these rocks when she comes back this way after seiiting out the winter further north…

That’s all for now. More pictures soon tho, I’m sure, so check back when you can, I’d hate for you to miss anything… :-)

 

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2 Responses to Update…

  1. Mark says:

    Hooggenoeg and Onverwacht originate from Dutch language. They mean “High enough” and “Unexpected” respectively.
    Keep up the excellent work!

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