Onwards and Upwards for Oppy…!

WE’RE BACK!!

I know, I know, it’s been AGES since I last updated this blog, well over a month in fact. I hope none of you thought I’d given up on following Oppy on her incredible journey across Mars; I would never do that. I’ve just been ridiculously busy with writing work for publishers, and also with writing my blogs about Comet ISON, which is hopefully going to be a nice sight for naked eyes in late November and early December. We’ll see! If you were worried about “Road to Endeavour” returning, well, thank you! I’ll try and post updates when I can from now on, but there will probably be another lull for a while because Comet ISON is now brightening in the morning sky, and following it and writing about it is going to demand most of my freetime from now until the New Year I imagine. But I’ll try!

Since my last update Oppy has been prowling around the base of Solander Point, carrying out a detailed survey of the area before starting her climb up Cape Tribulation to the – hopefully – clay-rich terrain at the top. She finally started climbing a couple of weeks ago, and is now making slow but steady progress up the slope. This chart, from NASA, shows Oppy’s route around the foot of the cape and her first drives up onto it…

position

And what has she been seeing recently? Well, the view has been changing steadily from ‘interesting’ to ‘amazing!’. Although I’ve been following Oppy’s progress daily, to be perfectly I’ve just not been able to do much processing of the images she’s been sending back, I just haven’t had the time. But here are some images I made showing Oppy’s view across Endeavour Crater as she started her climb…

pan3

Regular readers will know how fascinated I’ve been with that big crater blasted out of the side of the far wall of Endeavour, so it’s fantastic to see it again now Oppy is climbing once more, and I am still waiting for it to be given a proper name! Come on, MER team, christen that crater, you know you want to..!

pan-1

If we were flying over that farside crater it would look spectacular! Here are some views I put together using the HiRISE imagery of this part of Mars…

east_rim_crater_s

But what about the view now? As I’ve been unable to do any image processing for a couple of weeks now I’ve got behind with creating views of Oppy’s landscape, but one of the members of the unmannedspaceflight.com forum, Jan van Driel, has very kindly given me permission to use his beautiful panoramas on my blog, to show Oppy’s progress up Solander Point. Thanks Jan, really appreciate that!

First from Jan, this was Oppy’s view as she looked “up” at Solander Point, contemplating her drive ahead…

2_3463_L0 Jan van Driel

Having started on up the hill, Oppy photographed this beautiful scene, rendered by Jan…

3 Sol_3464_L2

This was Oppy’s view looking back downhill…

1F435083951EFFC8RAP1293L0M1

Having begun to climb, Oppy soon found herself faced with one of the many rocky outcrops which stick out of Solander Point…

2b

…and earlier today Jan posted this gorgeous panorama, showing Oppy is approaching one of the outcrops of rock which stick out of the slope of Solander Point…

4 Sol_3469_L2

It looks like there is some really fascinating geology up there, on the high slopes and high ground ahead of Oppy…

view

So, Oppy is well and truly on her way, not just continuing her incredible journey of exploration and adventure across the Red Planet, but beginning a fresh chapter in her study of Endeavour Crater. In the days and weeks ahead she’ll slowly work her way uphill, studying more of the geology on the slopes of this latest exploration site, and as she gets higher and higher her views across Endeavour and back down to Cape York are only going to get more and more beautiful. I’ll try my best to update more often!

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3 Responses to Onwards and Upwards for Oppy…!

  1. Hugo Burnham says:

    I knew you hadn’t abandoned us fellow Oppy lovers, Stu!
    It’s good to have you back and thanks for the update.

  2. earl weidner says:

    not every expedition has a diary..and here is a good one.

  3. MoreInput says:

    Hi Stu,
    a little of topic: What if Spirit explored Walt Disney World ?
    just found this abstract: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2012/pdf/2166.pdf
    They had the same idea as you had some time ago to put the driven rover paths onto the earth’s surface.

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