A good place to rest…

Oppy seems to be settling down at Turkey Haven for the long Thanksgiving weekend – a weekend which will also see (we hope!) the launch of “Curiosity”, the next-generation nuclear-powered, laser-toting, monster-wheeled, kick-ass Mars rover at the start of its own epic martian adventure. So, with no big drives being planned, the latest images to come back from Oppy are more views of Turkey Haven and its surroundings, the mountainous horizon and the northern edge of Cape York. Here’s a round-up…

That’s a wide angle view of “Turkey Haven”. Please click on it to see it in more detail, before looking at the next image, which shows the area of the outcrop Oppy will (I think) be studying in more detail…

Want to see that in 3D? Well, ok, but let’s concentrate on that area to the lower left, which is the most interesting, I think…

Now, it’s easy to be a bit confused by MER images. I mean, there’s no way of getting a sense of scale from them. It’s easy to assume that features like “Turkey Haven” are BIG, real challenges to a rover like Oppy. But that’s not always the case. UMSF member Mike Howard – creator of the brilliant Midnight Martian Browser program – has put Oppy into the landscape, to give us that sense of scale. Prepare to be… well, stunned…

Look at that! Turkey Haven is **tiny**!!! There’s hardly anything of it!

 

So much for the ground at Oppy’s feet – what can she see when she lifts her unblinking eyes to the horizon? This…

…and yep, there at the top, is The Dagger…

…but it shows up a lot more clearly if you tug and pull and stretch and tear the image this way and that…

So, there’s no doubt about it now – The Dagger has been spotted! But it’ll be a while before Oppy gets down to see it in person, so let’s put that aside for now, and look, instead, at the Bigger Picture, which we can do thanks to another UMSF member, Damien Bouic, who has created this gorgeous panorama (you’ll definitely need to click on it to see it properly!)…

And for an even wider angle view, take a look at this stunning “polar projection” created by yet another UMSF member, Phil Stooke…

I really love that image of Phil’s, it shows you where Oppy is, where she’s been and where she’s going, all in one go! :-)

That’s just about all for this time, but before we wrap things up, let’s remind ourselves of where Oppy is in relation to the rim of Endeavour…

That’s something isn’t it… !

Finally, I want to say something. On Saturday, all being well, Curiosity will blast off for Mars, and the media’s and public’s attention will be on her, leaving Oppy to sit on her own for a while on Turkey Haven, with the icy martrian wind wafting over her and the dust drifting around and over her wheels. It’ll be tempting, for some, to begin thinking of Oppy as Yesterday’s Rover, as old tech that’s lasted longer than it should. I’m not having that. If Curiosity blasts off ok it’ll still be 8 months until she reaches Mars, and then any one of a gazillion things could go wrong when she tries to land (as was the case with Oppy and Spirit too, of course). So while I’ll be crossing my fingers for, and then, hopefully, celebrating Curiosity’s launch, I won’t be abandoning Oppy. I’ll be up there on Cape York with her, sitting beside her on Turkey Haven, keeping her company while the eyes of the world turn towards her bigger, badder sister. Not just because Oppy is on Mars now, doing science now, but because I’ve walked beside her ever since she landed in Eagle Crater all those years ago, and I’m not going to leave her now. :-)

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4 Responses to A good place to rest…

  1. BSA E. says:

    Sorry to ask this, but I havent found a better explanation and I am a big fan of your blog! I have a HIRISE HIWISH image that I want to put into Google Earth/Mars, so i can see an accurate and up-to-date image and topography of this place on Mars. I want to place it just like your above image of current traverse points in Endeavor crater. How can you do this, or can you point me to the directions of adding an image overlay of a ESP_023394_1320_RED.NOMAP.JP2 file so i dont have to manually put it in. Thanks so much again!

    • phoenixpics says:

      Hmmm… not my area of expertise I’m afraid, but I’ll ask a few people and see if anyone has any ideas and get back to you, ok?

  2. I love DB’s pic … beautiful thanks for sharing :-)

  3. forgot to say… I think you’ll find there wont be any “abandonment”….we’re all walking right behind you!!

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