Spirit Point in sight!

We’re almost there. I thought yesterday morning’s images were good, but a new batch of images came down from Mars overnight – around 2.30am BST, and after staying up late to see them come in live I feel asleep twenty minutes before they did! – showing that we’re now so close to landfall at Spirit Point, SO close, we can clearly see the highest part of Spirit Point, and, even more incredibly, we can actually see the tops of the huge boulders ringing the impact crater at Spirit Point’s summit – and that crater is on the other side of Cape York!

Let’s see where Oppy is at the moment:

Wow… you can see from that just how close Oppy is to the southern end of Cape York now, barely a couple of hundred metres. Another two drives and we’ll be pulling up to Spirit Point, I think. Then the long-awaited Quest for Phylosilicates begins in earnest!

But the images that came down last night are so awe-inspiring because they show us, for the first time, the interior of Endeavour Crater. With Oppy about to drive into and down Botany Bay, her local horizon has dropped dramatically, allowing us to look “over the edge” of Endeavour and across it, all the way to the other side – and now we can see features on the crater floor far beneath us too… absolutely incredible..! Let’s look at some of the pictures:

Here’s the wide-angle, navcam view…

What are we looking at there? The next animation (you might need to click it to set it playing) adds some VERY ROUGH labels…

See that black dot on the top of Cape York? That’s the big boulder that’s sitting on the edge of the crater up there…

Here’s a close-up (and very noisy, can’t be helped, sorry!) 3D view of that rock poking its head above the horizon…

It’s worth pointing out that that rock is actually larger than Oppy herself, so if she ever drives up to it we should see some gorgeous pictures..!

Now, as impressive as that is, the real jaw-dropping moment came when you look at the pancam images, showing Botany Bay, the Tribulation Range, and, beyond it, the floor of Endeavour dropping away…

Now, you don’t really get a sense of just how incredible that view is unless you compare it with previous views. So, taking my inspiration from the wonderful animations posted by UMSF Toma B on the Forum, I’ve joined together three different panoramas showing how the view across and into Endeavour has opened up (again, you might need to click on this to see the animation working)…

How incredible is that? I have waited many long years to “see” Mars like that – as a real world, with mountains and ledges and valleys. Take a good, long look at the picture my deare readers, because that is exactly – exactly – what you would see if you were standing there on Mars beside Oppy. That’s what Mars is really like, not a desolate, flat wasteland of rocks and dust. It’s a magnificent Big Country planet, with scenery worth the danger of the trip there alone.

…and here’s the view in 3D, so glasses on…

…and finally, I couldn’t resist it, I had to have a go at colourising that view to make it look at least a little more ‘martian’… hope some of you like it!

…and the next set of pictures should be even *more* impressive: as Oppy pulls closer to Spirit Point she’ll be able to see more of the crater floor, and of Cape York itself. Check back for those here soon!

Finally for today, a new portrait I’ve made of Cape Tribulation…

This is going to be quite an adventure. Buckle up! 🙂

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One Response to Spirit Point in sight!

  1. Buck says:

    Wow! Gorgeous job!!!

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