Santa Maria vs Endurance…

If you’re a long-term follower of the MER mission you’ve probably been thinking “Hmmm… that looks familiar..!” when you’ve been looking at the HiRISE images of Santa Maria I’ve posted on these pages. That’s because Santa Maria is very similar to a slightly larger crater called “Endurance”, north of Victoria, that Oppy drove up to and then in to less than 100 days after she landed on Mars.

Here’s Endurance crater as seen on Google Earth…

Now, that doesn’t really tell you much unless you can see how big it is compared to Santa Maria, I know, so this next pic shows that. Santa Maria is the crater on the left, and Endurance is on the right. And just for fun, I’ve put “Eagle Crater” – Oppy’s “cosmic hole in one” landing site – betwen the two. They’re all shown to the same scale.

And just for extra weekend fun, this next image shows those two large craters to the same scale as Victoria Crater. You can see that Santa Maria is just about the same size as “Duck Bay”, the sloping area Oppy drove down to get into Victoria…

So, given that a) Endurance and Santa Maria are of a roughly similar size, and b) they look fairly similar from orbit, in terms of structures and shape, etc – maybe looking back at some images of Endurance will give us a sneaky-peek at what we might find at Santa Maria..? I hope so, because this is what Endurance’s inner walls looked like to Oppy as she rolled up to the crater…

…and from closer, the view was even better…!

Lots of very interesting detail and structure there, isn’t there? In a few days we should be seeing this level of detail in the walls of Santa Maria, so keep checking back for updates. šŸ™‚

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