Rocks, moons and mountains…

Oppy rolls onwards, ever onwards, and is now more than halfway from Nobby’s Head to Solander Point, her landfall site at the northern tip of Cape Tribulation. The view now is getting pretty stunning…

pan-1

Oh, look at that… Solander Point’s layers, ridges and outcrops are really starting to show detail now aren’t they? Within a week or so they’ll seem close enough to touch, just you wait and see! And when we get up amongst them, well, I am sure we’re going to see some wonderful geology, aren’t you?

But the terrain at Oppy’s feet/wheels is pretty interesting too. She’s just driven past a big chunka something which fell out of the clear martian sky from – where? Close by? Far away? We’ll never know…

rock 3d

But this whole area is probably littered with debris from faraway impacts, and probably meteorites too, though it’s been a long time (too long!) since we saw one of those…

And this is a really pretty view too, I think…

L3d

Oppy has been doing some amateur astronomy from the surface of Mars too! Look at this photo…

1P426444769EFFC4BMP2740L1M1

No, that’s not a fault with the camera, what Oppy photographed there was something special – Mars’ twin moons, Phobos and Deimos, passing each other in the icy martian sky…

I know, that’s something isn’t it?! MArs’ moons are really just big rocks, captured asteroids many scientists think, much smaller than our own Moon. Phobos is large enough and close enough to Mars though that it looks a decent size in the sky – maybe a third as big as our Moon appears in our sky – and it goes through phases too. Deimos, on the other hand, is so small and so far away from Mars that it only ever looks like a bright star, Venus-bright at best, crawling across the sky. So that photo shows Deimos as a starlike point at the top, and Phobos as a smear, because it has moved during the long exposure. So, a great example of a MER image which might not be particularly pretty, or scientifically useful, but it’s just cool, and that’s more than good enough a reason to take it in my book! :-)

If Phobos and Deimos were stolen from Mars, and put into orbit around our planet, what would they look like? Well, maybe something like this…

trio

And so Oppy’s epic adventure continues, and no doubt she will drive on today, drawing even closer to Solander Point. Check back soon to see what she sees…

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One Response to Rocks, moons and mountains…

  1. starbuck5250 says:

    That’s a cool shot of Mars’ moons! Thanks for sharing Oppy with us!

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