Solander Point

False color images of Solander Point from the PanCam on Opportunity taken on June 1, 2013.  Click for an annotated version.  Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

False color images of Solander Point from the PanCam on Opportunity taken on June 1, 2013. Click for an annotated version. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

The Mars science Laboratory (Curiosity) has been capturing the Mars bylines in the news lately. It’s easy to forget there is another rover up there still doing science. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is very much alive and well, as well as can be expected anyway after all this time on the red planet.

Opportunity is going to celebrate the soon to be the 10 anniversary of starting it’s trip to Mars by getting ready to move to and study a new area called “Solander Point”.

Yes, I know the MER Spirit is up there too but that particular rover has given its all for science plus there are various parts and pieces from ill-fated missions but they don’t count.

From NASA:

PASADENA, Calif. – Approaching its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again, trekking to a new study area still many weeks away.

The destination, called “Solander Point,” offers Opportunity access to a much taller stack of geological layering than the area where the rover has worked for the past 20 months, called “Cape York.” Both areas are raised segments of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

“Getting to Solander Point will be like walking up to a road cut where you see a cross section of the rock layers,” said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the mission.

4 thoughts on “Solander Point

  1. I understand the wonderful little rover Opportunity is to travel to Solander Point and could possibly examine Nobby’s Head on the Way. That feature is of great interest to us here in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. In May 1770 Captain James Cook RN aboard His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour passed and noted the small hill island Nobbys Head a local icon that stands guard at the entrance to the Hunter River. The Martian Nobby’s Head looks to be a very interesting feature on the Endeavour crater rim and as such would or could be a suitable feature to inspect on the way to Solander Point. Solander was a Swedish scientist and astronomer who sailed with Cook on that epic voyage to Tahiti to observe the Transit of Venus across the face of the Sun and they then travelled south and west to search for the Great Southern Land which Cook and the Endeavour crew found and mapped calling it New South Wales and claiming the vast land for the English Crown. A close up view of the feature Nobbys Head would be of great interest to us here in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia.

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