Opportunity: Ripples in the ‘spillway’

4720-navcamSol 4720, May 4, 2017. After a 12-meter (40-foot) drive, Opportunity is at the “spillway” that marks the entrance to Perseverance Valley. Sand ripples spread across the rover’s path, perhaps piled up by easterly winds blowing out of Endurance Crater.

The valley’s upper slope is hiding most of the terrain ahead, but HiRISE observations have given rover drivers a measure of how steep the valley descends. Yet the slippage that occurred in places as Opportunity climbed up the east face of Cape Tribulation is a reminder that good traction on martian slopes should not be taken for granted.

It’s likely the rover team will make downhill images from both sides of the valley entrance. This will produce stereo images to let them build a 3-D map of the valley to pick the safest route into it, and eventually down to the crater floor. Click the image to enlarge it.

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, a location map, and atmospheric opacity, known as tau.

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