Tonight is the night we FINALLY get to hear why Homestake – remember, that beautiful, fragile-looking, light-coloured vein of hard mineral that Oppy spotted, studied and then brutally ran over several times about a month ago – got the MER team so excited. There’s a media briefing/press conference… thing… later tonight UK time, at which the findings of the Homestake studies will be announced to the world. Although I’m obviously really looking forward to it, and I’ll be rushing right home from work to listen to it, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be nothing *that* Earth-shattering, because if it was I reckon a) word would have leaked out by now (it always does, there’s always someone ready and willing to break the ‘embargo’ stories like this are put under, and b) it would have been announced before now, before the launch of MSL actually, as part of the whole “Mars is important!” media offensive that preceded the launch of Curiosity. That’s not to say it’s NOT going to be important! I’m sure it is, I’m just thinking it’s not going to revolutionise our view of Mars or its history or anything like that. Anyway, we’ll know soon… though not soon enough! :-)
Meanwhile, undisturbed by all this, Oppy has just been sitting happily on the top of Cape York, drinking in the view…
…and taking a good long look at “Saddleback”, that long, flat-topped ridge she’s parked close to over the past few days. I’ve made a new image of Saddleback (which is probably named after a South African mountain, and not a Cumbrian one, after all. Booo!!!!!) which is NOT ACCURATE AS FAR AS COLOUR is concerned, ok? Rather, I’ve made it to bring out the details in the structure of the feature, and to show how rugged and broken-looking it is. Anyway, here it is, and you really will need to click on the image to enjoy it at its best…
I love this feature, I really do. It looks like an outctrop of ancient rock that’s been ripped and torn apart by some kind of Barsoomian werewolf or monster…! Look at those gashes in it, they must have been made by claws or talons, right? ;-)
Of course, I’m joking; geology made those features, not some strange martian beastie. Which geological processes I haven’t a clue, I’ll admit. I’m sure the MER team will tell us in time.
If you want to see what that feature looks like in a more realistic colour, here’s a close-up of a small part of it, nicknamed “Boesmanskop” (which is also a mountain in South Africa…what’s with all the SA love?). Look also at how dusty poor Oppy is… her solar array panels are very dusty, aren’t they?
And really there’s not a lot more to show you, Oppy’s taking it easy at the moment, which is fair enough, she’s earned a rest I think. So I’ll just finish off this post with a few 3D images for those of you who have glasses and can see 3D… I know some of you can’t, I’m sorry, but that’s why I never write anaglyph-only posts, so there’s something for everyone. But before those images, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who wrote such nice things about the blog on its third ‘birthday’, I really appreciated that, thanks! :-)