While the media and space geek spotlights are shining brightly on Curiosity and the Earth-shaking Big Secret she’s clutching close to her chest, Opportunity is still doing what she does best – what she has always done best, ever since she landed on Mars almost 9 years ago…
Driving from one incredible geological site to another, and doing amazing science whenever and wherever she stops.
Oppy is now parked up quite close again to the rocky outcrop you see at the top of the page, “Kirkwood”, studying some very interesting looking rocks there that look just… well, bizarre.
That 3D view there shows that Oppy has extended her robot arm to take a closer look at these rocks with her cameras, and maybe brush/drill into them too. But before she did that she took some very detailed images of the rocks… just take a look at this next picture,. which is a mosaic of several separate images which has been worked on to bring out textures and shapes on and around the rocks…
Wow… I don’t think ‘bizarre’ comes close, do you? But when you look at this area in colour, ah, that’s when it really slaps you across the face and shouts “Look at me! LOOK at me!”
That has to be one of my favourite images to have come out of the whole MER mission. Hope you like it too.
So… Are these the smectites Oppy is looking for? The clay-rich minerals spotted from orbit which have become her Barsoomian Holy Grail? I have no idea, but the rocks themselves are absolutely stunning, and I’m looking forward to more incredible views of this area.
So don’t worry about what Curiosity has or hasn’t found in Gale Crater. We’ll know that on Dec 3rd. For now, just take some time to stand beside Oppy and keep *her* company as she explores and studies this fascinating area.