Is this “The Dagger” I see before me..?

Oppy seems to be settling down quite nicely at the stone-scattered, rubble-strewn rocky outcrop known as “Turkey Haven”, and new pictures taken by her forward-facing hazard cameras – or Hazcams – suggest she is preparing to do some studying of the rocks with her robot arm. It’s certainly a fascinating place, and she won’t be short of targets to investigate… here are some new images of “Turkey Haven”…

There are some *very* interesting features, shapes and structures in that geological jumble… can’t wait for the microscopic images!

Meanwhile, when Oppy raises her eyes to the horizon she can see the gentle curve of the northern edge of Cape York…

That doesn’t look too inspiring or interesting, I know. Aaah, but when you stretch it vertically something interesting *definitely* appears (you might need to click on this next image to start the animation)…

And what is that? Well, it **might** be an enigmatic feature that MER-followers have been dying to see ever since it was first photographed by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s MRO probe: a dark notch, or v-shaped slice cut out of the far northern edge of Cape York which some people have nicknamed “The Dagger”…

What IS that? Well, it could be a geological fault of some kind… or a water-carved feature… or some kind of slumping… we don’t know, and we certainly can’t tell from this far away. But ever since The Dagger first popped up on a HiRISE image I think it’s pretty safe to say that die-hard MER fans have been pretty fascinated by and even obsessed by it, and have been looking forward to the first ground-level view of it. And it looks like it is finally coming into view as Oppy clambers up oto Turkey Haven…

The problem is, Oppy is looking across Cape York at a very low angle, so features on its surface appear distorted and foreshortened, scrunched-up. If Turkey Haven was higher, Oppy would be seeing The Dagger like this…

…but she’s not, so – at least at the moment- all she can see of The Dagger (if that’s what it really is! I’m not convinced yet!) is a short, dark line on the far edge of the Cape. I don’t actually think we’ll know for sure if that is The Dagger until Oppy moves closer, but we’ll see…

In the meantime, here’s that view of Oppy preparing to position her robot arm over the rugged rocks of Turkey Haven…

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