Mars Rover Finds a Turkey Haven for the Holiday

by Nancy Atkinson on November 22, 2011

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A region on the rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars that has been named 'Turkey Haven,' Credit: NASA/JPL, colorization by Stu Atkinson.

What does a Mars Rover do for the Thanksgiving holiday? While one rover will be sitting on the launchpad, preparing to head to the Red Planet (MSL/ Curiosity) the Opportunity rover has now trekked to an enticing outcrop near the summit of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. This summit or ridge has been named “Turkey Haven” by the MER science team, as this is where Oppy will conduct scientific studies over the four-day-long US holiday. The image above was taken a few days ago, showing the Turkey Haven ridge. Our pal Stu Atkinson has provided a beautiful color rendering, and you can see all the rocks that the rover will be looking at more closely with its suite of instruments and cameras. You can see more images of this area, including 3-D versions on Stu’s site, Road to Endeavour.

Oppy is now sitting among these rocks studying the outcrop region seen on the left.

And there’s other enticing regions ahead to study as well.

An usual dagger-shaped feature along the rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL

A dagger-shaped gorge or geological fault, as seen from above by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter may well be a future destination, but likely after Oppy finds another haven – a winter haven – a good place and location for soaking up as much sunshine as possible for the upcoming long winter on Mars.

The rock outrcopping called 'Homestake," with part of the Opportunity rover visible. Credit: NASA/JPL. Colorization courtesy Stu Atkinson.

But behind Oppy was a most intriguing light-colored rock outcropping – this one was named “Homestake.” The rover spent several days studying the rock – even doing what could be termed a cruel drive-by (or driver-over). You can see in this image below, how Oppy really created havoc and a mess with her studies of this region:

A before-and-after montage of the Homestake outcropping, before and after the Opportunity rover drover over the rocks. Credit: NASA/JPL. Color and montage by Stu Atkinson

…leading Stu Atkinson to create this:

A crime scene on Mars? Credit: NASA/JPL, liberties taken by Stu Atkinson.

But seriously, many Mars rover fans are anxiously waiting to hear from the science team about what they found during Oppy’s close-up studies of this unusual rock outcropping.

Opportunity’s odometer reading is now over 21.33 miles (34,328.09 meters, or 34.33 kilometers).

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Anonymous November 22, 2011 at 9:18 PM

From a somewhat less than auspicious beginning.. to a glorious sojourn! THANK YOU OPPORTUNITY! As far as driving over the study area… what can be learned from that?

HeadAroundU November 22, 2011 at 11:32 PM

It’s a Martian curb.

Torbjörn Larsson November 23, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Slow weathering but brittle inclusions. Salts in a clay matrix?

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