Join Donate

Larry CrumplerDecember 30, 2014

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3875 – December 18, 2014

Opportunity is continuing its drive 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.

Geologic mapping along the traverse so far

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / NMMNH / Larry Crumpler

Geologic mapping along the traverse so far

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—click on the image for a larger version.

View south along the rim of Endeavour crater

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

View south along the rim of Endeavour crater

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 Opportunity's traverse drops out of view periodically as it negotiates valleys between ridges. As of this sol, Opportunity is approaching the summit of Cape Tribulation.

Opportunity's traverse, sols 3844–3875

NASA / JPL-Caltech / U. Arizona / NMMNH / Larry Crumpler

Opportunity's traverse, sols 3844–3875

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!

Navcam view north along the tracks

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Navcam view north along the tracks
Navcam view south towards Cape Tribulation summit

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Navcam view south towards Cape Tribulation summit

Above are Navcam views north along the tracks and south towards Cape Tribulation summit from Opportunity's latest drive.

Pancam view ahead towards the summit of Cape Tribulation

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

Pancam view ahead towards the summit of Cape Tribulation

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.

Read more: Opportunity, mission status, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars

You are here:
Larry Crumpler
Larry Crumpler

Research Curator Volcanology and Space Sciences/Associate Research Professor for New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science/University of New Mexico
Read more articles by Larry Crumpler

Comments & Sharing
MER
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

Support enables our dedicated journalists to research deeply and bring you original space exploration articles.

Donate