On the move again…

See? Told you I’d be back! 🙂

In my absence, Curiosity has started sending back images from Gale Crater, and you can see some of them over on my “Gale Gazette” blog if you like, though they’re everywhere on the internet by now! I’m waaaay behind, and am going to have to spend the next week or so, I reckon, getting up to speed on what Curiosity has been doing and is doing.

But THIS blog is all about Oppy, and while I’ve been away it seems that Oppy has started driving again! 🙂 🙂 Having been stood down for a few days while attention focussed, rightly, on Curiosity, Oppy has now turned her back on Whim Creek (after all the months we waited for her to get there!!!) and has started to drive south, down the eastern flank of Cape York.

I know this because the always-brilliant Eduardo Tesheiner from UMSF posted this gorgeous navcam panorama on the Forum…

…and we can see from Tesh’s latest pic that Oppy has now driven up to the *next* crater on her crater-by-crater sightseeing tour of the Cape’s eastern side. Where exactly is she now? Here…

…and talking about tesh, some exciting news about his amazing work followin and mapping Oppy’s journey. If you are a Google Earth user (and really by now if you’re not, you should be!) you can follow Oppy’s incredible journey, right from the start, and keep updated on her progress, using the site, because GE now features Tesheiner’s track! All you have to do is open up Google Earth, select Mars from the drop down planets menu (the Saturn icon) then go to the menus on the left and from the “Layers” menu at the bottom select “Rovers and Landers” and then “MER Opportunity rover”. The view will zoom into Cape York, and you’ll see Oppy’s journey marked by a vivid red line, trailing all the way from Eagle Crater, her landing site, to the eastern flank of Cape York, where she is now. This means that now EVERYONE can walk alongside Oppy as she makes her way down the Cape’s side, heading for Botany Bay and, ultimately, Cape Tribulation – a fantastic resource. And I’m also very, very pleased for Tesh, to have his hard work recognised in this way. About time!

So… Oppy is on the move again, and once more we’re looking out across Endeavour Crater at the crater-pocked hills on the opposite side. Having seenthe amazing landscape Curiosity has dropped into, with those spectacular hills curving around the horizon and an honest to God 5.5km high MOUNTAUIN looming up ahead of the rover, it might be tempting to think of Oppy’s view as, well, a bit boring in comparison. If you find yourself thinking that, just remember what Oppy went through to get here to see this view. Remember how she slogged across the Meridiani desert for three years to get here, driving from crater to crater, meteorite to meteorite, smothered in dust. Remember how, when she left Victoria Crater, although we all believed in her, and her team, we didn’t truly believe she would reach Endeavour because it was so stupidly, ridiculously, impossibly far away. Then remember how you felt when she saw Endeavour opening up last August, as the horizon dropped away in front of her revealing the crater in all its glory…

Yes, Curiosity has landed in a truly spectacular place, but Oppy has been in a spectacular place for a year already, and the journey ahead promises to be nothing short of incredible. Driving down Cape York’s eastern side, hop-scotching from crater to crater, then rolling off the Cape and driving across Botany Bay towards Cape Tribulation – then up the hills there, to begin a climb which will reward her, one day, all being well, with a truly jaw-dropping view of Endeavour – a view From Above…

Think about that, and the magic of Meridiani, and the beauty of Endeavour, will come back to you. Trust me.

More soon!

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One Response to On the move again…

  1. starbuck5250 says:

    Endeavour is gorgeous. I could spend another month running up and down Whim Creek!

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