I’ve had a couple of people asking just exactly where we are at the moment (and by ‘we’ obviously I mean Oppy!). Ok, let’s take a look.
This is a map created by unmannedspaceflight.com’s cartographer extraordinaire, Tesheiner, showing Oppy’s recent route. The numbers refer to location reached by Oppy on certain days, or ‘sols’, of the mission. You’ll also see the location of Marquette Island marked on the map. I’ve added Oppy’s most recent stopping place.
Straightaway, looking at that map shows you that Oppy has been fairly steaming south since leaving Marquette Island! We’re now literally one decent drive away from Concepcion. Let’s take a closer look at just where we are:
I’ve oriented that map with south at the top this time, just to make it easier to get a feel for Oppy heading towards Concepcion crater. See the red circle at the wider angle view on the right? That’s where Oppy is – or was, last we heard back from her – parked up just on the edge of an area of bare rock, which is great for driving on! Oppy’s drivers probably stopped here, after a short drive, rather than ploughing straight on, because they wanted to take a really detailed image of the area to help them plan their studies of this fascinating-looking crater.
So, what’s the view like at the moment? Well, thanks to Damien Bouric – another member of the unmannedspaceflight.com forum – we can see… You absolutely have to click on this image to bring up a full size version, then you’ll not only see details around and inside Concepcion, but hills on the distant horizon too! (Thanks Damien, for giving me permission to use your beautiful picture here 🙂 )
I think you can even line up features on Damien’s pic with the view from HiRISE…
So… yes… one more good drive and we’re there! Unless Oppy’s drivers are told to drive around the crater and then drive towards it from another angle, we’ll have to wait and see. Exciting times ahead!
UPDATE: Ok, so maybe TWO good drives… 😉 The latest images to come back from Oppy show that she drove to the other side of the plate of exposed rock but no further. I don’t mind – the new view shows a LOT of detail in and around the crater…
And the view in 3D is really quite startling now…