Emily LakdawallaApr 08, 2008

Opportunity update: Approaching Cape Verde

As A. J. S. Rayl reported in her latest rover update, Opportunity is now driving toward Cape Verde, the steep cliff on Victoria crater's rim that borders the shallow ramp that the rover used to enter the crater. Cape Verde looks absolutely gorgeous from a distance, with beautiful layering. It's not clear how close Opportunity will be able to get -- the ground's tilt and shadows cast from the Cape will both decrease the power available to the rover -- but the closer it gets, the more detailed the view of those layers the rover will be able to obtain with its cameras. You can see how Opportunity is switchbacking down the slope in Eduardo Tesheiner's latest route map:

Opportunity's route map to sol 1,491

NASA / JPL / U. Arizona / Eduardo Tesheiner

Opportunity's route map to sol 1,491
As of sol 1,491 (April 3, 2008), Opportunity was inside Victoria Crater, carefully approaching Cape Verde to its northeast.
View of Cape Verde on sol 1,487

NASA / JPL / Cornell / James Canvin

View of Cape Verde on sol 1,487
Now well inside Victoria Crater, Opportunity looked across the slope to Cape Verde, its next target. This version of the image is only half the full resolution; for the full-resolution version, visit James Canvin's website.
Opportunity panorama: 'Burns Cliff,' sols 287-294 (simulated)

NASA / JPL / Cornell / Dan Maas / Zareh Gorjian / Koji Kuramura / Mike Stetson / Eric De Jong

Opportunity panorama: 'Burns Cliff,' sols 287-294 (simulated)
In this version of the "Burns Cliff" panorama, a synthetic view of the rover was dropped in to the image. Opportunity scrambled slowly across the steeply sloped wall of Endurance Crater to reach "Burns Cliff," a vertical pile of finely layered rocks that was irresistible to the rover sceintists. From this precarious position it captured a 7-color panorama from sols 287 to 294 (November 13 to 20, 2004). The bulging appearance of the wall is due to Opportunity's very close position to it; in reality the view spans about 180 degrees and the wall is gently concave. The simulated rover model helps put the wall into perspective. For the full-resolution image, visit the Mars Exploration Rover website.
Opportunity at Cape Verde (simulated)

NASA / JPL / Cornell / Texas A & M / Rover model by Doug Ellison / simulated view by Astro0

Opportunity at Cape Verde (simulated)
An artist's impression of Opportunity exploring Cape Verde.

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