While Spirit sleeps, Oppy keeps a’roving…

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few days you’ll have heard that the Mars Exploration Rover mission is now officially a single rover mission – NASA has stopped sending signals to Spirit, and from now on will only try to detect signals from her if and when time and money allow. You can read my thoughts on this here…

http://cumbriansky.wordpress.com

There’s a real outpouring of love and affection for Spirit on the internet now, as rover huggers, scientists and space enthusiasts all send the MER team their thoughts and best wishesm as indeed I have done. But amidst all the disappointment, frustration and sadness it’s important to remember that Opportunity is still driving, still roving, and closing-in quite rapidly on the rim of Endeavour Crater. So, farewell Spirit, our beloved, brave little robot, we’ll never forget you…

But Opportunity is still carrying aloft the torch of exploration, heading for what might be the most important, most exciting science of the entire MER mission. So what’s she up to?

It’s been a few days since I posted here – I was too upset about the loss of Spirit, to be perfectly honest – so let’s see where Oppy has got to…

You can see that Oppy has now started driving across an area of lighter, brighter bedrock, as she closes in on “Blocky Crater” (unofficial name), yet another of the chain of  “lilly pad” craters that lie between her and Cape York. Taking a closer look…

That’s the view from above. What is Oppy actually seeing..? Well, see for yourself (you’ll need to click on this to enlarge it and see it properly)…

Within a couple of sols Oppy should be at “Young Blocky” crater… seen quite clearly on this next image crater (the wavy-rimmed feature just beneath the horizon in the centre…)

…and even closer to Cape York. Check back for more pictures, and another update, soon… 🙂

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