Mars rover update: November 14, 2016

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Curiosity looking south, Sol 1516

For the overall context of Curiosity’s travels, see Pinpointing Curiosity’s location in Gale Crater.

Since my last update on November 3rd, Curiosity has reached the region of sand dunes and has started to pick its way through it. The panorama above was created using images from the rover’s left navigation camera, taken on Sol 1516. It looks south, with Mount Sharp rising on the left.

That same day Curiosity also used its mast camera to zoom in on the canyon gap in the center of the panorama. The first image below is the wider mast camera shot, with the an outline showing the even closer zoom-in below that.

Mid view of future Curiosity route

Close-up of Curiosity's planned route

This canyon is where Curiosity is heading. First however the rover has to get through the dunes. Below is the most recent overhead orbital image of the rover’s location on Sol 1519, uploaded today by the Curiosity science team, annotated by me to indicate several possible routes as well as the general direction the first panorama above was looking.

I fully admit that my guesses about the rover’s future travels are exactly that, nothing more than guesses. Regardless, we should expect the scenery to get increasingly spectacular in 2017.


Opportunity's location, Sol 4546

For the overall context of Opportunity’s travels at Endeavour Crater, see Opportunity’s future travels on Mars.

Since my November 3rd update, Opportunity has finally begun its journey south from Spirit Mound and within the rim of Endeavour Crater. The orbital image to the right shows this and has also been annotated by me with my guess as to their next targets. I had read somewhere, but now cannot find the link, that they intend to take a close look at all the mounds similar to Spirit Mound. At some point further south they will then exit the rim and travel into the crater floor.


One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *