Where next?

Oppy has now been parked at Greeley Haven for six years – no, not really, it just feels like it! – and inevitably MER enthusiasts and team members are starting to get itchy feet. I’m sure Oppy is getting itchy wheels, too. So, the obvious question is… where next?

Well, it looks like Oppy will be heading south, rolling up to the Tribulation Range (that’s just my nickname, it’s not official, don’t go looking for it on any NASA sites or charts!) and then going up

How do we know this? The most recent batch of images sent back by Oppy includes a LOT of frames showing those hills to the south, which I think the MER team will eventually combine to make one of those “super-resolution views” of the hills. I had a bit of a go myself, just for fun…

And where are those hills? Here…

In close-up, on a HiRISE image, those hills look like this…

And what will Oppy do when she reaches those hills? There’s a bit of a giveaway in Matt Lenda’s latest blog posting

***There was one last bit to Steve’s talk I didn’t mention: “What’s next?” Simple: Although we see evidence of the phyllosilicate clays at Cape York, we don’t expect to get that lucky. We’ll stick around CY for a bit then head south to Cape Tribulation as soon as we can — giving us the chance to climb a mountain.

Woo-hoo! So, there you have it! When Oppy’s finished at Cape York she’s going to sling her rucksack over her shoulder, dust herself off, take a swig of water and then start trekking south, towards Tribulation… and then start climbing, perhaps. I can’t wait! One of the most thrilling parts of Spirit’s exploration of its Gusev Crater landing site was its assault on the summit of Husband Hill. We all followed her progress up Husband Hill breathlessly, walking alongside Spirit as she zig-zagged up the valleys and slopes towards the top, and then, having reached it, looked down on the crater floor and a quite magnificent view. I wonder what sort of view of Endeavour Oppy would enjoy if she headed on up Tribulation?

That’s all in the future tho, if it even happens at all. Until then, Oppy’s stay at Greeley Haven will continue. And I hope that at some point before she sets off, someone will identify for me the location of this intriguing feature ON Tribulation, ‘cos it’s driving me nuts…!

I think it’s this…

…but can’t be sure. But I know I’d love Oppy to plant her flag there. One day. 🙂

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2 Responses to Where next?

  1. Dan Brennan says:

    You’re close Stu but I think if you look closely at that small crater on the ridge you’ll agree that your outcrop is just a bit off to the left (East): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v387/elkgrovedan/Stus_outcrop.jpg

  2. Monica, Houston Texas says:

    Stu – many thanx for your intelligent and lively posts. Cheers.

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