The road ahead…

Now Oppy has, it seems, turned to aim at Santa Maria, let’s take a look at the countryside between us and that crater.

First of all, here’s a very large image – that you’ll have to click on to enlarge – which, if you scroll across it from left to right, will show you very clearly how the nature of the very ground itself between Oppy and Santa Maria is going to change. Travel east, and you’ll see that the ground goes from quite “ripply” to “flat” to “VERY flat”, as we reach the so-called “Parking Lot”, the smooooth area close to and around Santa Maria which continues on to Endeavour itself.

You see that? The farther east Oppy drives from now on, the better the terrain should be for driving. And as yesterday’s drive, across rougher terrain, was 120m, that bodes VERY well for the days, weeks and months ahead. πŸ™‚

But let’s not get carried away. We’re definitely in injury time here as far as Oppy is concerned, and it’s wise to remember that every metre travelled now is a metre we shouldn’t really have trundled over, so let’s take it one sol at a time.

Ok. Where are we now? Here…

…or, roughly, 2km-ish from Santa Maria. Where will Oppy go next? I think she’ll take a path something like this, to skirt around the largest ripples between her and Santa Maria…

And after that? Well, maybe something like this…

Why do I think that? Just because it seems the shortest route taking advantage of the smoothest terrain, that’s all, but no doubt Oppy’s actual path will be a little more convoluted as she pays visits to interesting little nuggets of martian geology along the way! πŸ™‚

I can see one possible diversion up ahead – a small crater…

Is it worth visiting? Let’s take a closer look. Here’s a pic I’ve made showing Oppy to the same scale as the crater…

Hmm. Having seen that I’m not so sure it’s worth a course change, but you never know. It never hurts looking into *any* hole on Mars… πŸ™‚

Whichever path Oppy eventually follows to Santa Maria,Β this will be what her “path to date” will look like once she reaches that crater…

And once she gets there? Well, here’s a new image I’ve made showing Oppy and the crater at the same scale…

I CAN’T WAIT! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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