Rovers Rocking On…

Quick update about what Oppy is up to…

Opportunity has now left Marathon Valley behind, and is working her way back up-slope en-route to The Still Unnamed Gully, which is her next major science destination. No doubt on the way to that feature she will stop a few times to look at something shiny and interesting, scientific magpie that she is, but her next long stop will be at that gully. When will she reach it? No idea. Just enjoy the journey.

Here’s her latest panoramic view, anyway… as ever, feel free to click on it to enlarge it…

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Another recent view…

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Meanwhile, on the other side of Mars, Curiosity is taking some beautiful images of martian rocks too… Here’s a mosaic I put together from around half a dozen individual frames, and then processed a little to bring out textures and structures of some very intriguing geology Curiosity is studying… you’ll definitely want to enlarge this one..

pano33

A zoom-in of one part of that image is in order I think…

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Love those spindly stalks sticking out of the rock…

But my favourite image of the past few weeks is this one…

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Do you know what that is? You’re probably thinking “Yes… it’s a rock…” and okay it is, yes, just a rock, one of countless gazillions of rocks scattered across the dusty surface of Mars. But that rock is something else – that rock is a book. On one level it’s a science book,  a geological record of martian history. On another level it’s an epic tale the equal of anything created by Tolkien – the saga of a noble, beautiful world that once knew whispering, warm winds and soft, gentle rain, and perhaps life too, all written on pages of ancient stone…

As you look at that image, imagine being there beside that rock, kneeling down next to it, seeing all the layers in the sunlight…imagine running your gloved hand down it, your fingertips passing over and feeling the layers, one after another, each one a record of Mars’ past, like the rings in a tree…

One day people will do that for real. I think, sadly, that day is still a long way off, and I do sometimes wonder if  will actually live to see it myself, but one day people will go to Mars and see rocks like that – maybe even that very rock, if they go to Gale Crater  to follow up on Curiosity’s work – and touch them with an even greater sense of wonder than we feel when looking at these photos.

 

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One Response to Rovers Rocking On…

  1. Tom says:

    Amazing to try to comprehend how long, thousands or millions of years it too, for those delicate spindly rock features to form…..and stay unbroken for so long. Hopefully Oppy didn’t run over it and break any off! 🙂

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