Closer to the Valley…

Slowly but surely, Opportunity is closing in on the entrance to Marathon Valley. The latest images to come down show she has moved closer to the edge of the valley, and is now seeing more of the slopes, boulders and layers within it. Oppy has a seriously beautiful view now, as you can see from this mosaic I made yesterday…

pano7c

I mean, come on, just look at that scene… can’t you just imagine standing there, beside Oppy, drinking on that view? Here’s a crop of that scene centered on the Valley itself…

R2

But what about the Valley itself? What awaits Oppy once she trundles down into it? I’ve use HiRISE images of the valley to make this detailed image of it, which I think gives hints of the wonderful views we’re going to be enjoying once Opportunity is exploring it… please click on it to enlarge it to see it at its best…

pano8b

Glory awaits! But as is often the case it’s hard to get a sense of scale from an image like that, you can’t sense how tall the ridges are, how big the boulders are, etc. So, as I’ve done before, I’ve added a “virtual Oppy” to that image which helps provide that missing sense of scale. On the next image, Oppy is represented, to scale, by the coloured circle. Again, click to enlarge…

oppy scale MVb

As you can see, she will soon be wandering around some geological features which will look very dramatic indeed on her images. I can’t wait to see those photos, maybe by the end of next week.

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One Response to Closer to the Valley…

  1. Serpens says:

    On 27th April 2004 Opportunity completed her mission success criteria with 90 sol on Mars and 811 metres on the odometer. Close to 11 years and an unbelievable 42+ kilometres later , sensor challenged and arthritic, she continues to send back incredible images. While she is unfunded in the NASA forward estimates I don’t believe that even the most hardened NASA bean counter could really pull the plug on an operating system on another planet, particularly one as successful as Oppy. Some screaming, kicking and begging may be involved and DSN support allocation may be reduced, but I believe Opportunity will continue to putter around Mars until something critical finally gives up the ghost and that your outstanding blog will continue to chronicle her life.

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