NASA’s senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is departing “Cape Tribulation,” a crater-rim segment it has explored since late 2014, southbound for its next destination, “Perseverance Valley.” The rover team plans observations in the valley to determine what type of fluid activity carved it billions of years ago: water, wind, or flowing debris lubricated by water.
A color panorama of a ridge called “Rocheport” provides both a parting souvenir of Cape Tribulation and also possible help for understanding the valley ahead. The view was assembled from multiple images taken by Opportunity’s panoramic camera.
“The degree of erosion at Rocheport is fascinating,” said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, of Washington University in St. Louis. “Grooves run perpendicular to the crest line. They may have been carved by water or ice or wind. We want to see as many features like this on the way to Perseverance Valley as we can, for comparison with what we find there.”
Perseverance Valley is about two football fields long. It cuts downward west to east across the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, with a segmented rim that exposes the oldest rocks ever investigated in place on Mars. Opportunity has less than four football fields’ distance of driving to reach the top of the valley after departing Cape Tribulation, a raised segment about 3 miles (5 kilometers) long on the crater’s western rim. [More at link]