Only 200m to go…

Oppy is now just 200m away from the rim of Santa Maria, and she has sent back some fantastic pictures of the 100m-wide crater’s upturned rim and the boulders and blocks of rock strewn around it…

Here’s the ‘wide angle’ view – click on it to enlarge, as usual…

That’s a mosaic of views taken with Oppy’s navigation cameras, or ‘navcams’. Her more powerful, narrower field of view panoramic cameras, or ‘pancams’, returned narrower angled, more detailed ‘zoomed in’  images which I’ve made into this panorama…

When you click on that image you’ll see that the rocks and boulders scattered around the crater are going to be fascinating targets in their own right. I think the one rover fans are most looking forward to getting closer to is this one, aptly nicknamed ‘Wopmay #2’ by UMSF founder – and now JPL scientist – Doug Ellison…

“Wopmay”, for those readers who don’t know, was a big rock Oppy studied when she drove into Endurance crater, years ago now…

But it’s when you look at Oppy’s latest crater pit-stop that you actually begin to get an idea of what a great place Santa Maria is going to be to explore. So, glasses on folks, and click on the following images…

So, another decent drive – and one is planned – will take Oppy to within 20m of the crater’s edge, and that will take her right into that rockfield. When she gets there I think we’re going to see some fantastic images, showing lots of big rocks and boulders, the upraised rim of Santa Maria, and Endeavour’s hills on the horizon. Those images should come down quite soon, and I’ll post them here as soon after that as I can, so keep checking back. For now, just shake your head in admiration for this amazing machine, and for the men and women who have steered her safely across Mars for the past half dozen years. This is exploration; this is history in the making, and we’ve all got a front seat for it. 🙂

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2 Responses to Only 200m to go…

  1. Monica, Houston, Texas says:

    Go Oppy!

    It’s so surreal – waiting with bated breath for more pictures of rocks and boulders.

  2. tom says:

    Amazing. Oppy just keeps going!
    Sadly, I think there are a lot of people that don’t realize that there is still exploration happening on the surface of Mars. I was at a workshop for astronomers last week, and there was a guy there that didn’t know that Oppy was still roving. Where has he been?!
    I just hope she holds out until Curiosity arrives, that would be a great overlap of surface images.


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