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Impatient Oppy revving her engine…

The Mars rover Opportunity is clearly getting impatient to leave Victoria Crater and get on her way; today hundreds of images, old and new, came back to Earth, suggesting the rover is clearing her onboard computer’s memory of old pictures in preparation to start the long, loooong trek SE to Endurance Crater.

Here are a couple of 3D images I made, using some of those “raw” images… (please click on each one to bring up a full size version)

So, when will Oppy actually sety off for the Great Crater to the south? Maybe Sunday… watch this space 😉

Someone else with “A Passion For Mars”…

It’s fairly well known by now that I have a vague interest in the planet Mars… just a vague one, mind… 😉 Well, if you do too, then there’s a new book in the shops right now that you absolutely have to go and buy…

The book is – if you can’t read the title on that little pic – “A PASSION FOR MARS”, and its author is Andrew Chaikin. I’m sure many of Cumbrian Sky’s readers will know who he is already, but if you don’t then basically Andrew Chaikin is the author of “A MAN ON THE MOON”…

…the book that is essentially the Bible for followers of the Apollo missions to the Moon. Tom Hanks’ stunning HBO series “FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON” was based on Andrew’s book, and it is now widely acknowledged as being The definitive account of the Apollo missions. If you don’t already have a copy then you should, it really is as simple as that. I must have read my own copy from cover to cover half a dozen times.

Anyway, Andrew’s new book is all about Mars, the exploration of it, the observation of it – by amateurs and professionals – and the passionate feelings it induces and inspires in the people who, like me, have been drawn to it like moths to a candle flame. It’s a stunning book, and I don’t use that word lightly, packed full of personal accounts and insights, eye-opening glimpses of what goes on “behind the scenes” in the Mars Exploration community, and a real love of the subject. Andrew’s writing style is very personal and warm, and reading the book really is – as all the best books are – like having a personal conversation with the author.

The book is also very well illustrated, with lots of black and white and colour images, some familiar – the Mars rover ones are the “old favourites” we’ve all seen over the past 4 years – some not so familiar; the Mariner images are just jaw-droppingly detailed, and many of them are completely new to me, showing features I’d never imagined were actually visible on those old photos. That was a real eye-opener.

All in all, if you have an interest in either a) Mars or b) good science writing then this book is a must buy.