Opportunity enters Marathon Valley


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Opportunity at the mouth of Marathon Valley

For the John Batchelor Show tonight John and I taped this afternoon a two-segment interview with geologist Bill Farrand, who is part of the science team for Opportunity. The image above shows Opportunity’s recent travels as well as its next target. (Click on the image for the full resolution image.) Assuming the rover’s memory problems don’t get worse and Congress decides to reverse the decision of the Obama administration to end all funding for Opportunity, the scientists hope to take the rover east into Marathon Valley, a very distinct break in the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Whether they will continue east into the crater itself Bill could not say. Some scientists have been pushing for that eventual goal, while others would prefer to do more research along the rim.

What is interesting about Marathon Valley is that it takes the rover deep into the crater’s rim. Previously Opportunity has been limited to exploring the rim’s outer edges, since the rim itself is generally too rugged for the rover to traverse.

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4 comments

  • mpthompson

    It’s rather stunning the administration would consider defunding Opportunity given the fact it can still produce good data and the considerable costs and risks associated with getting working rovers on Mars. It’s almost as if they were anti-science.

  • Almost? I’d say it’s exactly that way. Unless one favors the science touted in pop media when it’s said, e.g., “Scientists say fat people are a bane to society because of all their medical expenses,” on the one hand, and then, OTOH, “Scientists say fat people live longer.” Or, “Scientists say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” followed by, a few years later, “Scientists say breakfast may not be that important after all.” If we had time to burn we might start a “Special Scientists Say” list for the “special” science of the week supported by public service announcements and other federal dollars. This would be in contrast to the actual science being done on Mars now. Thanks for listening.

    and

    Thanks, Bob. We love you on the JBS!

  • Thank you for the kind words. I do appreciate them, more than you know.

    Everyone should also always feel free to donate to the website at the tip jar, if you are so inclined. I hate to sound like PBS and NPR, with their periodic fund-drives, but something has to pay for all this!

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