LANDFALL!!!!!

At some point yesterday, Opportunity drove off the ramp of Botany Bay and drove up onto Spirit Point, finally making landfall at Cape York after driving 21km from Victoria Crater, which she left three long, long years ago.

She’s there. She made it. She reached Endeavour Crater.

Make no mistake, this is an absolutely stunning achievement, and everyone involved in the MER mission, in even the smallest way, should be proud of themselves, the team, and the rover herself, today. This will be a whole new adventure now. Oppy’s mission will, for the rest of history, whatever happens from to her now on, be separated into “Before Endeavour” and “After Endeavour”.

Oppy drove up – of course, “up” is a relative term, because Cape York is more like a long, flat plate than a hill, or anything like that! – onto Spirit Point and headed straight for Odyssey Crater, which we’ve known for years now would be on her Hit List because of the large number of big rocks scattered around it. We knew the crater would look pretty impressive up close…

…but we had no idea, no idea at all, it would look like this

Just… look… at… THAT…!!

This is a geological wonderland, it really is! Those rocks are going to keep Oppy busy for quite a while, I think. I wonder what secrets are hidden on, beneath and inside them? I can’t wait to find out!

If you look at this 3D pic of the largest rock, directly opposite Oppy, you get a hint of how fascinating this place is, and how much there is to learn here…

That was just a taster. Here’s the whole crater in 3D…!

But wait… as fascinating as Odyssey is, something else has caught the eyes of rover enthusiasts over on the UMSF forum… not far from Oppy there appears to be a ridge or seam of something jutting up out of the ground…

And here’s a view in 3D…

What the **** is that?!?! Some kind of hard mineral? It’s something shiny, something new – which is exactly what Oppy was sent to Mars to look for.

One day on Cape York, and already we’ve a new mystery to solve. Fantastic!

You know, I was going to write a long post when Oppy reached Endeavour. I had it all planned. I was going to wax lyrical about the journey, the adventure, how important it is, how much it means to me, but I just can’t find the words tonight. All I want to do is look at these wonderful images… and wait for the next ones.

She made it.

So, finally for this time, let’s take a look at what Odyssey Crater MIGHT look like when the colour images start coming back. This is, I’ll stress again, just my own portrait, my own colourisation, I’m not claiming for a *moment* that this is “realistic” or “accurate”, so please, don’t take it too seriously, ok? πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

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7 Responses to LANDFALL!!!!!

  1. Pingback: Jetzt wirklich da: Opportunity am „Spirit Point“! « Skyweek Zwei Punkt Null

  2. Alonso says:

    Well, one possible answer is that is the same rock but due to its inclination, the sun played a game with us and is nothing more than a “mirror effect” of a rock in the right angle at the right time, surrounded by darker dust, it tend to fool us but if you look closely, at the upper part where it approaches a brighter same material, the effect is not that impressive .

  3. Chris says:

    Looks like the head of Odysseus (or Zeus), looking to the left just to the left of the left rim of Odyssey crater!

  4. MoreInput says:

    Thx Stu, for the last 1000 Sols of continous reporting and visualization of this amazing journey!

  5. J. Major says:

    The Road to Endeavour has arrived at… ENDEAVOUR! Wow. It’s almost hard to even believe that it’s HERE. And it’s as beautiful as we imagined….maybe even more so! Wow wow wow. What a amazing time this is going to be…..so exciting!!

  6. Gile says:

    yahoo!!! She made it! Long road is over. What’s next? Odyssey began.

  7. vanDivX says:

    Interesting, the side of the crater nearest us presents smooth ground unlike the sides and rear edges where there is rock ejecta, is that welcoming sign or what? Perhaps because its situated on a slope?

    I imagined Cape York to be a bit higher ridge. It should (perhaps) be no trouble to drive to those prize minerals supposedly up there.
    And the seam on the ground? I suppose that will turn up to be nothing special, its always been like that with unusual features in planetary exploration. I do hope the ground will otherwise yield some good finds but keep reserve so as not to be disappointed.

    I wonder if there is even a remote possibility of the rover ever driving down into the huge crater after it will have done all the exploration on the rim. Or would the choice rather be to continue exploring around the rim of Endeavour? The slope is perhaps gentle enough (not like Victoria crater) but would there be any exploratory value in driving down?

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