Edging closer to Winter Haven…

The latest images to appear on the Exploratorium website show that Oppy is slowly but surely edging her way around to the north-facing slopes at the northern end of Cape York. They show… well, they show precious little actually! The landscape around Oppy is flat, very flat, with a few bumps and hillocks to her right (the east) and up ahead a lot of flat almost-summit, the ground covered here and there with low ripples of dust. It’s not an epic landscape, it’s not a striking one, but that doesbn’t matter; what matters is that Oppy finds somewhere useful and safe to spend the oncoming winter. Scenery can wait until later!

So, thanks to UMSF’s brilliant Tesheiner (and seriously, I don’t think I’d be able to write this blog without Tesh’s fantastic .kml files for Google Mars, so thanks again Tesh!) we can see just where Oppy has reached on her journey north…

A slightly closer view…

The little green house represents the point where I think Oppy’s real search for aWInter Haven will begin, i.e I think she’ll stop soemwhere AROUND there, not necessarily *exactly* there.

So, what can she see? Well, this to the north (roughly), which is the direction she’s driving in…

When you stretch that (first image below) you can see that on the right hand side of the image the terrain is raised up slightly, leading me to think that it’s the start of the higher, bumpier ground marked on the second image below…

Looking to her right, the east, Oppy can see this…

And again, stretching that view brings out some features in the landscape a little better…

…but really there’s not a lot to see here, to be brutally honest. At this point it’s all about the destination, not the view.

Meanwhile, some images of a rock christened “New Consort” (?!), which Oppy rolled past on Tuesday, have made it back, and here it is…

Now, that’s a cleaned-up, colour-balanced(ish!) image, good for showing Mars’ muted colours and the general dustiness of the area. It’s much more fun to turn up the contrast and the colour, because then you can see the subtle variations in the shapes, colours and textures of the chips, fragments and shards of rock littering the ground around “New Consort”. See for yourself…

See what I mean? Even though the colours and hues on that false colour image are, well, wrong, you can still learn an awful lot from it. Just click on that image to enlarge it and scan the grund… you’ll see light and dark bits of rock, some jagged, some smooth, in a bewildering sweet shop shelf variety of colours. Of course, you can take that to an extreme…

I know, that’s a bit over the top, but I love busy images like that! 🙂

Think that’s all I’ve got to share with you for this post. Hope everyone’s well out there, and I don’t say this enough, but seriously, thanks for reading this blog and walking with me alongside Oppy as she explores Mars!

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