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Unmanned > Mars & Missions > MER > Opportunity
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You can listen via NPR, or via one of the web feeds that are listed on the site, but make sure you do listen if you can.
Tune in now
"What's next for Opportunity - time for another martian road trip - perhaps a really long one?"
Paraphrasing Squyres :

Where to now?

Well, we've exhausted the easy places - time to do something hard

Bold, difficult, maybe impossible.

To the SE of this at a distance of 12km, 7 miles is an enormous crater - we're going to head of towards it. I think it could take a couple of years.

We think we can drive a lot faster than we have in the past.

We're rolling the dice in a sense - we think it's the right direction to go anyway.

Alfred McEwen -

October 10th - new HiRISE image to map the gap between the big crater and Victoria

Rui.... you have clearance to explode.
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 19 2008, 08:14 PM) *
Rui.... you have clearance to explode.


You guys must be pulling my leg. If not, this is the grandest news I've heard in a couple years.

laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
Last I checked, the date isn't April 1....

-the other Doug

edit -- by the way: YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Harrumble!! biggrin.gif
David S.
That's just amazing !! This is going to be one hell of a route map to maintain laugh.gif
mars EXPLORATION rovers

Am delighted by this news.
Awesome - we may not get what we want, but I'd rather Oppy die trying than miss out on some great science by trying to be safe at this point. wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif
That's Ithaca crater!!! It cannot be anything else!!! Let's go to Ithaca now and hug Steve Squyres!!! biggrin.gif
QUOTE (Pavel @ Sep 19 2008, 08:51 PM) *
That's Ithaca crater!

Sorry - if I didn't make it clear - yes - it is - and they've named it Endeavour
As an American taxpayer, I must say that I wish all government programs produced the returns and guts of this one!

Thank god for flat terrain. 12 km is a long way at rover speed and forever if you have to keep dodging obstacles.
I knew it all along. rolleyes.gif laugh.gif
Just think, a couple years from now opportunity may be upstaging MSL!
That was quite a show; an all-star panel plus the full hour on Mars.

Steve did say that they wouldn't even attempt the trip without HiRISE, and they'd be shooting for 100m/day.
Just got word from SS - the name Endeavour is unofficial at this stage.

This crater is large and very distant, and it's questionable whether or not we'll ever get there. So I don't really feel that we have "earned" the right to name it, at least not now. We are going to suggest the name Endeavour to the International Astronomical Union, because it both keeps with our current theme for naming craters at Meridiani, and it is consistent with IAU standards for naming martian craters -- Endeavour is also the name of a town in Saskatchewan. Anyway, until the IAU gives us their blessing for this one, it's important to treat the name as informal and provisional.

I hate to spoil the party, but (as the saying goes) has anyone else noticed the elephant in the room?

...the rover experienced a spike in the electrical current to the motor for its left front wheel, an event ominously similar to what Spirit experienced just before it lost the use of its right front wheel for good back in March 2006... Not surprisingly, the team decided without much debate that it was time for Opportunity to rove on and out of Victoria. "We want to get out of the crater as quickly as possible," Callas said

Mars Exploration Rovers Update July 31st
According to this old press release, the funding for the fifth mission extension of the MER rovers carries them "possibly through 2009". If Opportunity is still alive then, let's hope that the funding will follow for another extension.

12 km at 100m/day is only 4 months, though tongue.gif
Paolo Amoroso
This is a marsathon.

Paolo Amoroso
WOW. This is incredible news. I wonder if Oppy can really make 100m/day reliably?
Every day? No.

But back in the day - James Caird to just before Purgatory was getting on for 1.5km in 30 days.

Unbelievable! Incredible! Wonderful!
smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif

Now, if we don't have news about Rui/Ustrax in the next hours/days I will be very worried. Such news might be too much for his heart. wink.gif
This Big Crater fan says Yahoooo!! smile.gif
Paolo Amoroso
This would be the largest crater on another world ever visited so close at ground level, right?

Paolo Amoroso
QUOTE (Paolo Amoroso @ Sep 19 2008, 03:46 PM) *
This would be the largest crater on another world ever visited so close at ground level, right?

Lunokhod 2 landed inside LeMonnier crater, but I didn't check how big it is compared to "the big crater"
And we can't forget Gusev crater!

A new adventure! I can't wait to start the new road trip! smile.gif wheel.gif
Don't forget Gusev. cool.gif

So passes the torch...from Victoria to Endeavour... From Magellan to Cook...from Portugal to Yorkshire...awesome!
No one can say our Mighty PIs lack ambition or audacity.
Let it be! Southward the wagons! smile.gif
I am experiencing so many different amazing many...
Spirit and Opportunity drive me to tears... smile.gif
Are you guys aware of the magnificency of this mission? Yes you are... smile.gif
Besides the fantastic technical achievement, the rovers seem to be part of a tale, of a story that previously written wouldn't sound so epic!
THEY are legend...
And the people making it make us believe that EVERYTHING is possible.
Opportunity, dear Opportunity...take us to Endeavour...make of this words your fuel! biggrin.gif
Rui, do you not approve?

Doug...from this guys? Whatever they want whenever they want!
Man...this post keeps banging in my head for a long time...
We're mad?...
What about Squyres and friends?! laugh.gif

Tesheiner...ready for some years of hard mapping? smile.gif
Coming out of lurk mode to say this is simply incredible news! It reminds me of when it was decided to drive to and climb the Columbia Hills. Yes, 12km is a long way off but, man, these machines and the JPL team have proven themselves over and over. It's testamant to all that's good about the human spirit.

A toast to Opportunity! (Where's that virtual beer??)

Long may she rove!!

Cheers everybody,
I'll drink to that. This news makes me proud to be a human being. It's simply inspiring. It doesn't matter if Opportunity ultimately makes it there - what matters is that the attempt is made.

Okay, yes - actually getting there would be fantastic, too. But who knows what we might find along the way?
Even Obama or McCain can't outdo Opportunity

Does anyone have any overhead pictures of the area between Victoria Crater and Endeavour Crater.
From the overhead shots. Which way should we go. Are there anything interesting along the way that
we should stop at??? I figure we should start the trip now and study the cobbles and anything else down
The Yellow Brick Road biggrin.gif
QUOTE (mhoward @ Sep 19 2008, 10:52 PM) *
Okay, yes - actually getting there would be fantastic, too. But who knows what we might find along the way?

Precisely...that is why I find that Ithaca poem so terribly fitting for this crazy, C-R-A-Z-Y odyssey...
And proud...yes...we're sharing the same view...just sent some words to our Master and Commander that reflect that feeling:
"A whole new adventure ahead, so many things to see, explore and learn about...
So many miles of amazement, terrestrial dream and martian reality...
From deserts to mountains, from drama to epic achievements, from here to there, from question to answer...
You, your team, Spirit and Opportunity, make me so proud of mankind!"

Doug...wouldn't it be possible to, somehow, gather the work done by some guys here regarding possible paths to Ith...sorry...Endeavour, and merge in a single thread? smile.gif
As Mr Burns said : "Excellent!"

Yes, excellent news. I can't believe this. This seems to be so unrealizable. But Oppy shows us so many thing we believe unrealizable.

So, GO Oppy, go smile.gif.
Just catching up on the Big News, having been out during the evening...

I know that when we discussed this possibility earlier I was very cynical about setting off on such a long trek, but I'm happy to eat my words and to have been proved wrong. It shows just how brave the MER team are, and how determined they are to squeeze every last precious drop of knowledge out of this mission before it ends.

And I'm happy for ustrax, too. Always the optimist, always the explorer, always the adventurer. Walking alongside Oppy every inch of the way with a hand on her back, saying "Onwards... onwards..."

And off we go...! biggrin.gif
Just got some words from SS...I never doubted that he was one of ours...the "Rove till Death Brotherhood" smile.gif

"Well, we'll see what happens. The wheels could fall off tomorrow, after all... this is an old rover! But this is a good direction to travel whether we get there or not, as I explained in the interview. And, to me, this goal just >feels< right. Better to attempt something nearly impossible and die trying than simply live out our time doing things that have been done before." feels soooo damn right! biggrin.gif

Rovers parked in craters... rolleyes.gif
This is sooo exciting !!!! laugh.gif

Don't we have a picture of this crater somewhere? I'm trying to recall what it looks like.
I found a good CTX image and posted it in this blog entry; for lower-res but wider-field images the best bet is HRSC. Here's one set of HRSC images (preview and links to others here). I can't download and mess with them because I'm at the in-laws', with a less-than-reliable connection; someone else here please have at it!

Sanguine?!... rolleyes.gif

Sunspot and Emily, here's an image covering the whole crater with the available images at the time.

And a proposed path just to reignite this discussion... smile.gif

Oh boy oh boy...Xmas has arrived earlier this year...this will be sooo cool!

EDITED: And a beautiful Endeavour postcard including Victoria... smile.gif
Wow, I always wanted to go there.
QUOTE (Bobby @ Sep 19 2008, 04:54 PM) *
I figure we should start the trip now and study the cobbles and anything else down
The Yellow Brick Road biggrin.gif

And now to bring everyone back down to Earth, I figure it's going to be awhile before they set out. The new HiRise images won''t come until Oct 10, and then I figure there will be much planning done on a feasible route. MER time seems to move much more slowly than UMSF time. I see them puttering about the vicinity on their cobble-quest until late in the year. Maybe we need a poll on when everyone thinks The Really Big Trip will commence. wink.gif

QUOTE (BrianL @ Sep 19 2008, 05:20 PM) *
The new HiRise images won''t come until Oct 10

I'm guessing you are probably correct about it being awhile before they set out. However, considerable area extending to the south and somewhat east of Victoria has already been covered by MRO. The new image they are referring to may be to cover the remaining distance to Endeavour.
Looking at the image of Big Crater/Endeavour in this post, it seems like the crater walls are higher in two areas directly across from each other - the east and west ends. Neither the north rim nor the south has high walls. I wonder why?
Seems that at least two HiRISE images of Endeavour itself already exist, PSP_005779_1775 and PSP_007849_1775. In colour, too.

One of them includes the southern part of the western rim, a crop of which I'm attaching a bit hesitatingly (not knowing exactly what I see). This picture was exported as a half size jpeg from the quicklook jp2 product.

Added yet another half-res crop showing a curiously shaped pattern inside the crater bowl.
This is truely amazing news. The journey will be awsome. wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif
Ah.. ITHACA....

What a delight....

"I went to it with the defenseless disposition
with which we approach the unknown,
expecting a greater answer than our painful question."
Ithaca By Francisca Aguirre, Ana Valverde Osan

Travel onward little rover... we are with ya!!!!

Getting pointed to podcasts like this and then to see the discussions afterwards is one of the reasons that I enjoy UMSF so much!

Steve Squyres comments: To me, three interesting things stood out.

1 - Due to combination of software updates, smarter team and HiRise imaging he is expecting Oppy to average 100 metres a day or "even better."
2 - He made no mention of the extent to which potential wheel problems were factored in in terms of choosing this long range target.
3 - He said that they'll be going in the right direction anyway. Rocks from deeper stratigraphic layers thrown a long way from Endeavour/Ithaca crater.

Made me think.....
1 - Even better? That's an exciting target!! Can it be done?
2 - I admire a team that knows when to think like explorers! What is the % probability of reaching Endeavour/Ithaca? Any predictions? Me (optimist) - 80%.
3 - Nearest ejected rocks how far from Vic crater?
Wow!!! Wow! Triple Wow!

Honestly...they said it might take two years to get there. So, I give it about a 30% chance of actually making it to a rim. I have no idea what condition is will be in at that time. The really interesting stuff is along the interior and north of the South rim. That would be shear heaven if Oppy could get there; but that almost doubles the trip length. I don't think that is possible.

This is such a large crater that they need to pick a rim to go to before they start the trip. It might make a big difference as to the path they take.
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