Oi! Oppy! Stop wandering off and get back here!

Well, I didn’t see *that* coming! I thought Oppy was going to steam straight on to the “on” ramp at Solander Point, and make landfall as soon as possible so she could begin ascending to those slopes and outcrops, but no, she has other ideas. Instead she’s actually taken a sharp turn tothe east, leaving Solander Point behind and heading into Endeavour Crater!

route latest

What triggered that?!? Has Oppy gone Mars Crazy? Has she decided she wants to cross Endeavour and explore the higher, more dramatic mountains on the far side, which are another 20k plus away?!?!

No, everything’s fine. Here’s an official Update from the rover team…

Opportunity is in good health. We are now within a few hundred (656-984 feet, or 200-300 meters) of the ‘Solander Point’ destination. However, the team doesn’t need the northerly tilt that Solander Point offers yet, so they decided to use a few of the margin sols accumulated to investigate an area of interesting terrain and gypsum signatures.

Ah, right, that makes perfect sense. She’s made such good time that she can afford to go exploring a little before turning back towards Solander Point and starting her investigation of Cape Tribulation.

But she’s still taking pictures of Solander Point, and here’s the latest one I’ve put together from raw images Oppy has sent back…


That’s lovely isn’t it? Some great detail visible on the slopes of Solander Point now, even individual boulders. Looking forward to seeing those from a lot closer soon…

Talking of boulders and rocks, here’s a 3D view of the western flank of Solander which, I think, offers the patient viewer a lot of detail…


Now, something a bit special…

Every week the HiRISE team (HiRISE, remember, is the incredibly powerful camera the MRO probe uses to photograph Mars in astonishing detail) releases a new batch of images – and one of this week’s features Opportunity as she drives towards Solander Point! And if you zoom in really carefully on one tiny little part of the image, you can see this…

oppy zoom bw

See that bright dot in the middle of the picture? That’s Opportunity! That’s our gal! Isn’t it great to see her again! đŸ™‚

Of course, that’s just one tiny area of a much bigger image. That image shows Solander Point and Cape Tribulation very clearly, but the colours aren’t very, well, martian-looking to be honest… Here’s an example…


So, what I did was crop areas of the HiRISE image, stitch them together again and then colourise them to make a single colour image of Solander Point and Cape Tribulation. After a lot of keyboard-tapping, cursing of my slow computer and worse, this is what came out of the other end of the process…

SP colour

Let’s take a closer look at Solander Point itself – Oppy’s imminent landfall site at her new playground…


I thought it might be useful – and ok, I’ll admit it, just fun – to place a virtual Oppy onto Solander Point, to give us some sense of the scale of its outcrops, ridges and layers. Here you go…


Lots of geological fun waiting for Opportunity up there, I have no doubt…

Check back soon for another update and more images.

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1 Response to Oi! Oppy! Stop wandering off and get back here!

  1. starbuck5250 says:

    Oppy doing All The Science!

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