L. Crumpler, MER Science Team & New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is still exploring Mars.
Sol 3875 – December 18, 2014
Opportunity is continuing its drives along the rim of the 22-km diameter impact crater Endeavour. In the next few drives it will be at or near the highest peak along the rim, Cape Tribulation summit. At that point Opportunity will be as high in elevation on Mars as it will ever be. The panoramic view from that summit should be awesome. Mid summer is only a few sols away.
Once the rocks there are characterized Opportunity will continue down slope and south to “Marathon Valley”. Marathon Valley is the site of some wild geology as detected from orbital remote sensing. We hope to arrive there early in 2015.
Above is my map of the geologic mapping done along the traverse so far. The image has been turned on its side with north to the left so that it will fit on your screen and still be visible.
For a perspective on where Opportunity is right now, this is a panoramic view south along the rim of Endeavour crater and centered on the highest part of the rim, Cape Tribulation. It was acquired back on sol 3767. On this image I have indicated the subsequent traverse of Opportunity as a yellow line. Note that Opportunities traverse drops out of view periodically as it negotiates valleys between ridges. As of this sol, Opportunity is approaching the summit of Cape Tribulation.
Above is an MRO/HiRISE perspective map view of the last few sols of the traverse with 1 m contours. So you can see that Opportunity is only 11 m vertically from the summit now!
Above are Navcam views north along the tracks and south towards Cape Tribulation summit from Opportunity’s latest drive
This is the Pancam view ahead towards the summit. The view from up there will be pretty nice. The outcrops are few and far between up here, but so far all of the outcrops along the rim have been impact breccias. Some are more altered than others. The devil is in the details.