The rising and falling of the Faraway Hills…

One of the most fascinating aspects of Oppy’s amazing journey along the Road to Endeavour is how our views of the faraway hills or Endeavour’s rim keep changing. As the local topography rises and drops, the amount of detail we can see on the hills changes accordingly. I’m fascinated by that. So I was delighted to read a post by one of UMSF’s most eagle-eyed Oppy-watchers, fredk, pointing out how ironic it is that although Oppy is now closer to the rim of Endeavour than ever, her view of ths crater has actually got worse since she arrived at Santa Maria! Why is this? Because Santa Maria sits in something of a dip, or hollow, in the local terrain, so we can’t see as muchj of the distant hills as we have done in the past.

Fred used two  images to illustrate this, which I reproduce here. First, look at the view of the hills of Endeavour Oppy enjoyed on Sol 2406, about two months ago…

… and this is the view, looking in the same direction, now, from the rim of Santa Maria…

You can see how that dark, oval-shaped crater on the far wall of Endeavour is better sen in the first image than it is now, and how we can see more of the cliffs beneath that crater in the first image than the second, so that shows just how the local horizon has risen up for Oppy, obscuring parts of the Endeavour hills we were seeing before she descended to Santa Maria crater.

Here’s the difference between the two viewpoints…

The horizontal distance between those two locations is approx 1.8km. The difference in height, well, I don’t know that, but looking at those two images it must be quite a bit.

Fascinating! And yet more proof that we won’t really “see” Endeavour until we’re almost there…! 🙂

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