Ridge-running with Oppy…

Been a few days since my last post, I know, but to be honest there’s not been a lot new to tell you all about. Until yestersol Oppy had just been standing there, at Turkey Haven, staring at the rocks beneath and around her, and generally killing time until she was sent new commands to move further north up Cape York by taking in the view. She took a bunch of new photos, took a good look around, and then finally moved on, heading down the ridge that runs up the centre of the northern part of Cape York like an old, eroded dinosaur spine. She’s now closing in on a couple of possible candidates for slopes to park up awhile, tilting her solar panel-covered beetle wings to the low Sun to keep her going through the winter. There’s a LOT more information about that in the latest brilliant Update by The Planetary Society’s AJS Rayl, which you can find here:

http://www.planetary.org/news/2011/1130_Mars_Exploration_Rover_Update.html

So, let’s take a look at what Oppy’s been doing since *my* last update, which is basically taking lots of tourist pictures of, and from, the top of Cape York.

Here’s a wide-angle view of the rocky area she was studying before her latest move…

The most interesting area of that, um, area, was this one…

That jagged-edged, wound-like ‘cleft’ in the rock down to the upper right is fascinating. I was wondering if they’d take some microscopic imager pics of that, but it looks like they didn’t. I made a 3D view of it though, which I think turned out pretty well…

To the left of the cleft is a rugged surface the MER team nicknamed “Transvaal”. Here’s a colour view of it, made by combining three different images taken through different coloured filters…

…but it can’t have been *that* interesting because Oppy drove off and left it behind not too long after taking those images! (And in the “Update” linked to above, the science team say that Transvaal wasn’t anything special…)

But Oppy didn’t just stare at the ground beneath her; she lifted her eyes and panned around, taking some pictures of the landscape around her…

The central part of that image is very interesting seen in 3D…

Actually, the view to the *right* of that flat plateau caught my eye, because they put me right there, on Mars, beside Oppy, when seen in 3D. Here’s one of the images in question, showing how the ridge to the right of that ‘table top’ plateau cuts off the view of the hills to Cape York’s south and east…

See? Nothing special. Ah, but when you combine left and right images, to create a 3D view, then you get something pretty special, I think…

Wow… look at that… Just imagine you’re there… Imagine you’re slogging up that ridge in your heavy, bulky spacesuit, with your ragged, exhausted breathing rasping in your helmet… Eventually you reach the top of the¬†ridge and pause for breath, hands on your knees, bent over… When you look up you find yourself looking down at the floor of Endeavour, at the dark dust dunes rippled across it, at the waves of wind wafting gently over it… Then you lift your eyes and see, on the farside of the great crater, the eastern hills, shining orange and gold in the sunlight…

People will actually do that for real one day.

How I envy them.

But Oppy has moved on from there, and has now travelled a little farther ‘up’ Cape York, heading north, resuming her trek along the ridge that runs down towards the northern end of the Cape, down towards that intriguing “Dagger” wedge cut out of the Cape’s base. Here’s where Oppy has got to…

The next batch of images should show us The Dagger in more detail I think, but we’ll have to wait and see.

To finish with for now, here’s a rather fanciful image I’ve made by colourising one of the pictures shown above. It shows… kind of… what sunrise might look like from Cape York… I’m not claiming it’s accurate, at all, I just made it because it’s an image I’ve had in my mind for a long time and wanted to see it ‘for real’, and this is as ‘for real’ as I think I’m ever going to get. Anyway, I hope some of you like it… Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly present: “Endeavour Sunrise”…

 

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5 Responses to Ridge-running with Oppy…

  1. Buck says:

    I love being able to see Mars through Oppy’s eyes.
    And yours.

  2. Pingback: Actualidad en Astronom√≠a: Semana 28-11-2011 « Campos de Estrellas

  3. Pingback: Go planet-hopping in 3-D | Mars Gazette

  4. Pingback: Recommended: Go planet-hopping in 3-D | Mars Gazette

  5. Pingback: Recommended: Go planet-hopping in 3-D | Alkaon Network

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