• Opportunity continues driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater
• Now approaching next area of outcrop
• Solar panels remain very clean, cleanest since about sol 1600
• Approaching distance driving record
Opportunity is closing in on the next important outcrop area here on the rim of Endeavour crater. The outcrops just a hundred meters ahead have been identified from orbital remote sensing as having a strong aluminum hydroxide feature, so these are probably going to be interesting outcrops one way or another.
A couple of weeks ago we got this great view from the crater rim looking out across the 22-km diameter Endeavour crater. This view is the part looking north and you can see Cape York and Nobby Head in the distance about 2 km away. Cape York was where we just spent a year or so figuring out the stratigraphy in this part of the world. Essentially the crater rim is ancient and greatly eroded. And the surrounding dark sands of Meridiani Planum have nearly buried the crater such that only small segments are left sticking out like islands in a sea of sand.
This was the view looking south along the rim to the next target just as we started driving in earnest towards our next outcrop campaign site. We drove off to the right of this image and then south. The rough outcrops in the center of the image in the distance just this side of the big mountain are the outcrops shown in the images below as the "Al-OH feature."
Here is an oblique view of the traverse south up the rim of the Endeavour crater. We hope to go another 2.5 km south in this field season to the placed labeled “smectite valley.” But right now we are approaching the straight scarp where some hydrated minerals may be present. If so, we want to find where they are in the outcrop and come to understand how they got there.
This is an overhead view from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter /HiRISE camera of the escarpment. Opportunity is a good 100 meters away.