Farewell Homestake..?

New pictures sent back by Oppy suggest she has moved away from the light-toned vein of minerals known as “Homestake” and is now studying a broader, flatter area of similarly bright material a short distance away…

That’s the view through Oppy’s forward-facing Hazcams, and you can see that Homestake has, um, gone! It was there yesterday, smack bang in the middle of the field of view, but it ain’t there now! Instead Oppy’s robot arm instrument package seems to be hanging above a kind of ‘plate’ of lighter rock, not as obvious as Homestake was by any means, but the MER scientists must have spotted something interesting about it.

So, where is Homestake? Is it behind Oppy now? Apparently not…

So it looks like Homestake might actually be *underneath* Oppy now… or maybe it’s just off to one side, I’ve no idea really. But wherever it is, it’s time in the scientific spotlight seems to have come to an end, and Oppy’s eyes are now going to be staring at another strange area of rock on the surface of Mars. What did the MER team learn from Homestake? How important is it? What questions did it answer about Mars’ past – and what new questions did it beg? I guess we’ll know soon enough. For now, though, here’s what may well turn out to be my “farewell portrait” of Homestake…

…and here’s a view in 3D…

Looking forward to more images later today, but in the meantime, please spare a thought for the scientists, technicians and engineers behind Russia’s “Phobos-Grunt” mission which seems to have run into difficulties. The rocket carrying the probe on its ambitious mision to land on Mars’ moon Phobos, collect samples from its surface and return them to Earth blasted off last night, but it seems that once the payload reached orbit something went wrong, and the probe didn’t blast out of orbit and head for Mars as planned. No-one really knows what’s happened yet, so please, until there’s some kind of official statement from the Phobos-Grunt team,  don’t believe *any* of the breathless, doom-laden reports that are all over the net. Just wish them luck – and cross your fingers.

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4 Responses to Farewell Homestake..?

  1. RJ White says:

    Good works. thanks for your efforts. RJ.

  2. I think homestake is in the picture as a dark line top center! Since the sun is allmost in view, we are looking at the shadow side of homestake (if it is in the picture).

  3. vanDivX says:

    I was going to suggest for Oppy to drive over the Homestake ‘whatitis’ and take picture what nice tankodrome like 360 degree spin around did with it. That would be the fastest examination and fitting one given the time pressure before winter season sets in, can always find another ‘homestake’ later on…

    It might be flat slab sat and buried edgewise and it is in the process of breaking up into pieces… only fault with that is its seeming brightness in contrast to surrounding gravel, that indicates that the gravel is not broken up slabs and anyway it would be weird for odd slab like this to remain ‘standing’ with all the rest in the near vicinity all broken up. I give up. I only wish geologists would come forward with some ideas, else they are a useless bunch as ever walked the surface of this planet. Methinks its the case of he who keeps silent exudes wise airs.

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