"X Marks The Spot" - A leisurely circumnavigation of Enceladus

After taking a look at my bucket list of things yet to do in Elite, I've been inspired by cmdr Alec Turner and his recent circumnavigation of a planet for charity to write off one the most prominent entries on it, sitting just between "Find something to blame T.j. for" and "Reach Beagle Point in an E-rated sidewinder. No scanner, eco route"...and that is (you'd never guess, eh):

- Circumnavigate a planet/moon in the SRV

The Elite galaxy offers us an overwhelming deal of planets and moons, of every size and composition, full of awesome, varied landscapes and cosmic vistas. Celestial bodies sporting enormous craters, huge canyons, cliffs, valleys, orbiting binary or trinary star systems, dwarf/neutron stars, bathed in eerie, alien lights, you name it.

And then there's Enceladus. Rather smooth surface, rather unremarkable land features, rather annoying icy surface full of small rocks and boulders at every step, orbiting a gas giant surrounded by a glorious ring system that given Enceladus' orbit, almost perfectly aligned on Saturn's equator, comes down to a rather invisible thin line when seen from its surface.

So why in the galaxy did I choose to embark on a full trip around such a boring ball of rock and ice? Hell if I know, but I have more or less 1600 km of road ahead to ponder the errors of my way. [hotas]
Who knows, along these 1600 km I might still make interesting encounters, or stumble across some interesting features after all. That E ring around Saturn doesn't create it on itself, there have to be ice and water jets somewhere! (yes I already know there are indeed some and their positions should be well known by now, but please be kind with my empty fantasies, would you?).
More so, yes it's dull, but it's also not some unknown Eol Prou WW-HG211-L, Synuefe 88-F-KJHAD or HECK-TH-ATIS-FFSAKE-7B. It's Enceladus. Motherckufing Enceladus, orbiting big frickin' Saturn. That's VIP stuff over there.

Formalities aside, let's get down (literally) to business:

- First thing I needed was a place where to start my trip: as already explained, Enceladus is a bit lacking on peculiar or distinguishable land features, but there are some nonetheless. What better place to put an X on a map, than already finding a huge X put in place for you by mareal forces over millions of years:

A downside of using the big X as a point of reference and a straight polar route, is that being Enceladus tidally locked in its orbit around Saturn, the ringed giant will appear to be static in a fixed point of the sky. Unfortunately, that fixed point in the sky happens to be just a little below the horizon eastward of my route, so no big majestic views of the mighty planet along my ride, but I'll have it watching over my shoulder the entire time.

- On trajectory for my elected starting point in my reliable do-it-all Python Doorstopper Almighty, unfathomable Saturn looming in the background. Can almost hear Gyorgy Ligeti's "Requiem" resonating from the ship's frame:

From there it will be an easy ride to the north pole following 0° bearing, then an equally easy ride on the other side heading 180°, back to my very big, very easy to find X. Easy to find from orbit at least, it's a very shallow slope when on the ground:
The intial lat/long coordinates will help me to know when I'll be back at my starting point anyway.

The Scarab doing the undertaking will be of course my trusty "The Tumbling Initiative" of Buckyball fame, now sporting a full gold-plated livery for 780% added weight, but 18*10^8% more cool factor:

- Starting odometer value: check. Repair mats reserves: check. Refuel mats reserves: check. Sanity check: heck.

________________________________________________

And off I depart in the black!

- "Following the light of the sun we left the old world". So poignant, so moving, my eyes filled up with tears. My mouth, my nose, my ears, everything full of tears. Turned up I didn't properly start life support, cabin condensation is an ugly b*tch.

- Enceladus may be a barren flat place, but at least I shouldn't ever find myself short of materials to help in my voyage:

- See? It's not so devoid of activity after all, not even 20 km in my trip and this appears on the (near) horizon: friend or foe?

Friend luckily, still wouldn't have wanted to mess with the array of turrets and sentry drones displayed. Bonus drone photobombing:

- Saturn peek out from behind the horizon, a tiny sliver of light indicating we are a good way from daylight yet, the ring plane discernible just left of M33 (Triangulum Galaxy):

- Another shallow ridge passed, another chance encounter: a stack of containers left there by someone with no intention of giving them out easily, given the display of drones guarding it. This particular specimen has "Don't mess with me" written all over it:

- The road ends on the 40th parallel for today, just a quick 40 minutes, 50 km leg to get the trip going. Now setting up camp here to spend the night in my comfortable golden cocoon: in a leap of inspiration I'll call this waypoint "Camp Here":

Alone in the big dark:


I'll keep the thread updated soon with the next part of my travel: next stop, "Camp There". (sounds thrilling, isn't it?)
 
Last edited:
Cool. I did his once on a small potato moon closely orbiting a star out in deep space. Drove all the way around the equator just for the kicks of it. Sometimes you really come across interesting and challenging terrain! I'd like to do this someday in the bubble where there are POI's to come across. Maybe take a T9 and just drive my SRV around a planet salvaging everything I can until my cargo hold is full, lol.


Drive safe commander!
 
Cool. I did his once on a small potato moon closely orbiting a star out in deep space. Drove all the way around the equator just for the kicks of it.
Hey mengy, did you record any evidence of your adventure (a write-up, screenshots or video?). If so then why not submit your application to join the Planetary Circumnavigation Club?



Click on the club logo above, let me have some details of your circumnavigation and I'll add you to the list.
 
Last edited:
A quick update, safely reached "Camp There" after another 150 km of annoyingly placed boulders. And a couple canyons. And other stuff. The landscape appears to be not so dull after all, I'm extremely lucky the Tumbling Initiative is still in one piece and safely parked for the night...I have to be more careful than I've been today if I want to reach the north pole, not even mentioning arriving back at the X canyon.

Full update hopefully coming tomorrow morning.
 
Day 2 - From "Camp Here" to "Camp There"


- The day started...at night, again. Judging from the changing phase on Saturn, still some hours before I can bask in the light of Sol Invictus. My brief stay at the 40° parallel has been full of wonders and exciting adventures, up to the point when I hit the snooze and woke up in the same barren plain I left the day/night before. Time for a healthy breakfast made of crackers and regrets, then back on the road to the north pole:

- The blinking of a beacon suddenly appears behind a small elevation, didn't even notice it at first on the scanner. Whoever left that beacon there also took measures to protect it, whatever its secret may be it's none of my business, I have a mission to accomplish and I'm also in a bad mood for exploration. Those crackers sucked.

I give throttle again intending to go past the beacon at a safe distance, when a sudden flash in the sky and a muffled thump from the cabin's acoustic awareness system notifies me of a ship just jumping in, right above the beacon...not a good feeling, looks like something is going on and I shouldn't be supposed to be here...

False alarm, it appears that some Beluga tourist liner decided to give passengers the ride of their life with a low pass over the wonders of Enceladus...they must have been some very low-paying passengers to deserve that. I feel relieved and go ahead on my journey...
...a journey full of mistery, wonders, and unmitigated swearing:

[video=youtube_share;UVRqe8UOI1Q]https://youtu.be/UVRqe8UOI1Q[/video]

- That large canyon some kilometers north of Camp Here, appearing so shallow when viewed from orbit, revealed itself to be not so flat and easy to traverse as expected:

Sometimes it's easy to forget the real scale of things. "Potato moon"....and mite-sized explorers:

- Being the careful and cautious explorer that I am, I decide to approach the many mounds and crevices in the most sensible manner:

Yeeeeeeeeeee!
(This attitude will soon lead me to a close encounter of the brown kind with an embarassing demise, more on this later...)

- It's the innate spirit of the human race, the inner instinct that moves each and every of our endeavours since the dawn of time: the urge to dive into the unknown, the urge to explore, the urge to dare. The urge to litter.
Out of the canyon finally, and almost out of existence minutes later. I forgot how easy it was to gain speed on a more plain surface apparently, but the more plain surface promptly reminded me of the transience of our existence:

[video=youtube_share;eaAlSMEptVU]https://youtu.be/eaAlSMEptVU[/video]

Now, that was close. CLOSE. Arms still trembling and feeling dizzy, I stand there and try to recompose myself. And also take the chance for some sightseeing over the horizon:

- I regain my cool and decide to travel another bit before settling for the night (or day, whatever); the "another bit" becomes a good stretch of land, and after traversing a large swat of elevated and relatively easy ground I finally find myself at the rough bottom of a large basin, not too far from my next destination (the pole). Another 170 km under the belt, but I spent far more repairing materials than I hoped for. Time to stop for some rest in the tiny, comfy SRV-sized dip in the ground I just named "Camp There".

I'll keep the headlights on for a bit, they double as reading light for a bit or relax before sleep. Currently reading "Crochet, kite surf and raising llamas: a brief guide"

Next update as soon as I hit the snooze enough times.
 
This is gripping stuff Aken! I believe the words that quite literally escaped my mouth as I was watching the very close call video were ... "Aiiiiiiighhh! Je-zus Christ Dude!" (apologies for the blasphemy but there it is).

Really enjoying reading these. I might try and hook up with you one evening this week.

Godspeed you crazy heroic fool, I'll try and save some Dav's Hope mat's for you!
 
Yikes, that was close!

Quick tip though: SRV thrusters always make you go up, even if you're upside down at the time. If you're tumbling out of control, use every last scrap of it to buy time to reorient! (I noticed you stopped boosting early, and at the Critical Moment actually had a full ENG bar).

Also why it's prudent to try to keep some reserve in the tank whenever on/near the ground, Just In Case.
 
Hey mengy, did you record any evidence of your adventure (a write-up, screenshots or video?). If so then why not submit your application to join the Planetary Circumnavigation Club?

https://i.imgur.com/fQzU9b4.png

Click on the club logo above, let me have some details of your circumnavigation and I'll add you to the list.
I probably have a few screenshots from the drive, but I didn't document it or anything. It was out somewhere near the H&S Nebula, I'd have to search my pics to find it. That's a nice link though, I'll look into it! If I can't find pics to verify it then I might just do another planet to submit, because honestly I found it kind of fun.
 
Quick tip though: SRV thrusters always make you go up, even if you're upside down at the time. If you're tumbling out of control, use every last scrap of it to buy time to reorient! (I noticed you stopped boosting early, and at the Critical Moment actually had a full ENG bar).

Also why it's prudent to try to keep some reserve in the tank whenever on/near the ground, Just In Case.
You don't need to teach me things I already know...that is, because you already gave me the same advice some time ago, and I'll never thank you enough for that, it has been a life saver on more than one occasion! :D That was a totally counter-intuitive trick and something I'd probably never discover on my own, so again kudos and thank you for that. ;)

If you refer to the part after I started repairing, when I impacted the second time while upside down, I actually tried to boost but the button didn't register the input, it's something the throttle has started developing this late summer, sometimes it fails to work when pressing it too lightly or too fast repeatedly (this was the second case, I was in full panic mode), perfectly ok on steady presses though. Doesn't come as a surprise, it's the top thumb button that I assigned to ship and srv boost, compared to the others it has been literally ravaged due to my peculiar career as a cmdr. :eek:

I believe the words that quite literally escaped my mouth as I was watching the very close call video were ... "Aiiiiiiighhh! Je-zus Christ Dude!" (apologies for the blasphemy but there it is).
What a coincidence, what escaped my mouth at the time was Heavens related too! :x
If I had mic recording enabled (a suffering I wouldn't inflict upon my most loathed enemy), the actual transcript would read something like "Noo no no nonononodiodiodiodio dioOOO! Huuuuu!" (translation should not be required :D). A nerve-wracking moment for sure, but it also made my evening. So much for "no gameplay on planets".

Day 3 of my expedition has been postponed a bit due to RL, looks like I'll keep hitting the snooze of my SRV alarm clock until tomorrow evening at the very least. Thread updates ASAP.
 
If you refer to the part after I started repairing, when I impacted the second time while upside down, I actually tried to boost but the button didn't register the input, it's something the throttle has started developing this late summer, sometimes it fails to work when pressing it too lightly or too fast repeatedly (this was the second case, I was in full panic mode), perfectly ok on steady presses though. Doesn't come as a surprise, it's the top thumb button that I assigned to ship and srv boost, compared to the others it has been literally ravaged due to my peculiar career as a cmdr. :eek:
That makes the story even more awesome. I'm now imagining it went something sort of like this:

[video=youtube;ojPLwt0hfbY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPLwt0hfbY[/video]
 
Day 3 of my expedition has been postponed a bit due to RL, looks like I'll keep hitting the snooze of my SRV alarm clock until tomorrow evening at the very least. Thread updates ASAP.
Doh! Looks like I picked the wrong night to come and find you.



That was taken pretty much on the 'X'. I then drove about 30km North, following your route. Nice, good choice of planet!
 
That makes the story even more awesome. I'm now imagining it went something sort of like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPLwt0hfbY
Oh my, that's so relevant it gave me anxiety! [haha]

At the moment it's still pretty much manageable, I just it doesn't get worse too fast...one thing has to be said, these Hotas X's can take a lot of punishment for the price...the Logitech Extreme would have been in pieces by now...

Doh! Looks like I picked the wrong night to come and find you.

https://i.imgur.com/GdjP5y1.png

That was taken pretty much on the 'X'. I then drove about 30km North, following your route. Nice, good choice of planet!
Whoops, sorry! I'd really like to have a schedule for my available time, but it's a luxury I can't afford given my current life. On average, I'm online either the evenings from 20:30-21:00 to 23:00 (server time), or sometimes the morning from 10:00-30 to 12:00, but always depending on my SO free time schedule (priorities :eek:)...I should be in game this evening but no promises...I'll gladly accept some company on my way to "Camp Everywhere". :D
 
Day 3 - From "Camp There" to the North Pole

- after a veeery long sleep, I'm finally greeted by another day of...night. Looks like I missed the daylight train once again. Whoohoo. Oh well, more dramatic photo ops this way so here we go, next stop the north pole hopefully, but not before the usual healthy breakfast. Left over crackers, and freshly baked regrets. Yummy!

- in the cosmic ballet of Enceladus around Saturn, the sky has changed during my absence: the glowing plane of the Milky Way is not anymore the canvas over which Saturn is painted, instead moving on the other side of the sky where a couple of Enceladus' siblings have appeared over the horizon. At a wild guess, one is Titan, the other is...not Titan.

- not even the time of coming out of the basin were I camped the last days, and I already meet signs of activity: someone was apparently parked in another dip a few kilometers from mine, his (or her) engine trails the only remaining trace of their presence:

- I stare at my new traveling companions, and take the time to ponder and reflect on the deeper questions the universe poses me: what's our purpose? Is there even a purpose? And more importantly, why did I only take badly preserved crackers with me before departing from my ship?

- Random bonus beauty shot:

- A few kilometers past "Camp There", out of the basin and on plain ground again when a weak, unusual signature on the scanner grabs my attention. I divert a couple kilometers to investigate, but probably would have been better if I didn't:
I stumble upon the place where someone apparently met their fate, details will remain forever unknown probably, but the way debris are scattered around and the wreck of an armed drone crashed a few meters away make me think that a fight happened, and it didn't end well for the unlucky rover pilot either:


"Premium vehicle manufacturer since 2258"

- I leave that unsettling place and continue on my journey...but not for long, there's a lot of activity apparently at polar latitudes. I met these kind of beacons already, think I'll pass on the close inspection of this one:
A few kilometers later, this appear on the distant horizon:
Not your usual basic outpost, but a full-fledged planetary base overlooking a vast landscape, quite an imposing sight from the base of the slope:
In between the two building a small number of containers was present, together with a couple escape pods closely guarded by a complement of drones...I just hope those were empty but I'll never know, since I had already attracted the attention of one of the sentries and it started to make clear that I had to leave, immediately.

- Another short stretch of road traveled, another remnant of human activity. Could it be connected with the nearby beacon and mysterious buildings?


- Day 3 has seen far less distance traveled than what was planned for, but at last I finally made my way to the pole. Even my navigation computer noticed that, but for some kind of calculation bug it appears that it was convinced to be at the wrong pole. But hey, I'm on a pole at least!

After explaining the tiny but relevant difference between "90°" and "-90°" to my onboard computer, I corrected my bearing and prepared myself to camp there. Not Camp There, simply camp there, as in "camp here where I am". Not intended as Camp Here either, the one over there...ok, bad name planning on my part. Got it.

Preparing myself for the night with another good read after finishing my previous book. Let's start with this one, "365 Turkey Recipes For Vegans". As you can see, I can barely contain my excitement.

That's all for now from the north pole of Enceladus, next updates soon hopefully, from the already planned "Camp Everywhere".
 
Day 3 - From "Camp There" to the North Pole
Brilliant (again), love these updates.

Observation #1 - I didn't see a single damn man-made thing on my entire trip while you appear to be stumbling upon something every 50 yards or so! I guess this is partly due to you being in SOL and partly due to me turning off my sensors and scanner to conserve fuel.

Observation #2 - Thinking about going around the poles rather than around the equator is doing my head in! So presumably a heading of 0° from anywhere will take you to the North pole. But, now you're at the North pole what does that mean? Where does a heading of 180° take you? I just can't get my head around it. I dare say you have a handle on this but all I'm really saying is, make sure you don't drive back down the side you just came up!

P.S. "A bear walks ten miles south, then ten miles west, then ten miles north, and ends where it started. What colour is the bear?" - all I'm really saying is, watch out for bears!
 
Observation #1 - I didn't see a single damn man-made thing on my entire trip while you appear to be stumbling upon something every 50 yards or so! I guess this is partly due to you being in SOL and partly due to me turning off my sensors and scanner to conserve fuel.
Dare I say the second more than the first: I've kept eyes on the scanner while disabling almost everything else for the exact purpose of being on the lookout for anything interesting. Upside, a lot of good photo opportunities and anecdote material; downside, as you may notice I'm taking the "leisurely" part a bit too literal with my current pace. (but I'm also stopping a lot to collect video material)

About being in Sol, it may have to do with it too but I've got no clue about how the game manages POIs creation based on current system, so I'm not ruling out that either.

Observation #2 - Thinking about going around the poles rather than around the equator is doing my head in! So presumably a heading of 0° from anywhere will take you to the North pole. But, now you're at the North pole what does that mean? Where does a heading of 180° take you? I just can't get my head around it. I dare say you have a handle on this but all I'm really saying is, make sure you don't drive back down the side you just came up!
If I had to pretend to know my way around geometry, I'd say that since a heading of 0° from anywhere leads you to the North pole, a heading of 180° from anywhere will take you to the opposite one. But once there, you can still use your previous longitude as a reference to keep going on a straight line, so by knowing that I came from roughly 45° lon, once at the North pole if I take a 180° heading on 225° lon (or is it -45° in game?) I should be able to maintain my previous direction, then once at the South pole head again for 0° heading on 45° lon and go back to my starting point.

But really, since Enceladus is tidally locked to Saturn I just need to keep it on starboard and always at roughly the same height above the horizon and I'll know I'm going the right way. Also, Saturn comes with a practical built-in sextant: with the orbit of Enceladus perfectly aligned on the same plane of the ring system and its axis of revolution perpendicular to it, the inclination of the rings relative to the horizon should give you a good estimate of your latitude: rings parallel to the horizon at the poles and perpendicular at the equator, and any other angle in between. Nature is beautiful.

P.S. "A bear walks ten miles south, then ten miles west, then ten miles north, and ends where it started. What colour is the bear?" - all I'm really saying is, watch out for bears!
A polar bear would have a hard time trying to blend in this dull grey landscape :p...but now you've made me afraid of dull grey bears, who knows if they are a thing on this barren ball of ice? [where is it]
 
Last edited:
Day 4 - a quick hop from the North Pole to "Camp Everywhere"


The North Pole was all fun and games, except it wasn't fun and there were no games. Moreover, it's very cold and lonely up there (compared to the hectic night life, the pleasing warm breeze, the palms and coral reefs at the tropical latitudes of Enceladus). Why the hell did I opt to stop there? Oh right, because North Pole. After a good informative reading and some hours of rest, I feel sparkly again and ready to continue on my trip. And I also know 365 new ways of throwing a turkey in the bin, consider it a plus. On to next stop (wherever it is), "Camp Everywhere"! (disclaimer: it's not everywhere actually)


Boooring. But look at the bling!

I've not much time to dedicate to my journey today, so let's see how many kilometers I can add to the odometer from there. More important, let's see if I can add those kilometers in the right direction!
After going past the pole, an event confirmed by the heading indicator suddenly switching from 0° to 180°, I take just a quick glance at my overly complex astrogation procedure to check my bearing: with Saturn still firmly sitting at my right, I point my heading dead-on at 180° and throttle away, with longitude now pointing at -135°. The numbers do add up, that's the way to go.

I know I've been risking too much at the start of my voyage, and I can't be 100% reliant on my SRV boost function for reasons I still have to clarify, so I'm taking my sweet time with things, a keen eye on the road, a slow speed and a steady pace will lead me anyway were I want to-pfffffft who am I kidding anyway? Sorry couldn't keep a straight face. [squeeeee]


Except there. There I kept a straight face.


See that? That's what a gold cladding looks like the instant it melts against a coarse rock due to blunt impact forces. Don't do it at home kids.

Then, the straight face became a slightly constipated one. The boost failed me once again in my time of need.

And again, but this time I had all the time for making repairs on the fly - literally.

About doing things literally: here it's me some way before that, "fliving" over yet another stash heavily guarded by angry drones, the content of which I didn't care about the slightest. Here you may see a flawless application of the notion of "not giving a flying f....". Sorry angry drones, next time, I promise.

Kilometers upon kilometers go by past my wheels, the landscape barely changing except for some random encounters, the nature of which I start to question:

- another downed probe, its faint signaling beacon blinking unheeded in the dark cold
- another wreck from some exploration gone awry. Another rover reduced to scrap, another drone crashed to the ground

I already met similar sights: extremely similar sights. It almost feels like these things are randomly laid there for the exact purpose of me to find them. Maybe it's the constant darkness, the unsettling yet wondrous sight of the universe above and around me, that makes all these questions, idling but ever present, surface from the realm of the subconscious to the vigilant eye of the mind.

Is all of this real? What's the very definition of "real"? What if we are just simulated entities in a simulated world, me just not being "me", but a simple artificial projection originating from somewhere else, an "holo-me"? Is there a deeper thruth to things? Maybe some marvelous revelation, or something terrible, a truth so unbearable to be known only by a restricted elite, capable of handling a knowledge so dangerous.
Is this universe really infinite? Or is there some impassable frontier just hidden somewhere, behind the horizons our eyes can see? What that frontier has in store for us? And what's beyond?
And moreover, should I stop with the cheap puns?

Yes, yes I should. Oh look, I've arrived!
75 degrees of latitude, looks like a good enough spot to stop (accidental word pun), even if not much road has been traveled once again:

I prepare myself for another period of rest with big reassuring Saturn watching over me, and choose another read from my thrift store collection to ease myself into sleep: "Watch paint dry: a comprehensive travel guide to Hutton Orbital". This will not ease, this will smash me into sleep...hey what's that on second cover, "Redeem your free mug, cut out ticket inside"...free MUG! Me wants me wants...oh, it's already been cut out. Bummer.

Next planned stop, "Camp Near", hopefully near the equator, soon(tm).
 
Last edited:
Day 5 - setting up "Camp Near"

After a relatively brief stop on the picturesque slope of Camp Everywhere, I decide it's time to move on. Let's see how far I'll go before setting up "Camp Near". In the meantime, Enceladus carried on the eternal ballet around its parent planet; the phase of Saturn and the sky behind it have changed dramatically since the last time I saw them, just a few hours ago:

This time I decide to not let myself be distracted by anything anomalous that may pop up on the scanner, not too much at least. The starry, never ending night, and the majestic sight of the ringed giant already make for enough distraction, but I have a destination to reach, wherever it may be.

Aside for some minor close encounters of the rocky type, and a couple rude lithobraking events (no faulty boost this time, just a faulty level of attention on my part), this leg of the trip went by with relative ease and a suspicious lack of ground activity, especially after the many chance encounter of the previous days. That however was somewhat compensated by an apparent rush in airborne passers-by (is "airborne" a thing, when there's no "air" to go with "borne"?): federal patrols, lonely Adders and Asp's, full wings of private pilots, even the occasional Orca on a sightseeing tour. Just hope they weren't searching for any prospective water geyser, because there weren't any as far as the eye could see.

Given the quiet and uneventful itinerary, I took my time for some sightseeing. I don't think I'll ever get enough of that after all.
A bonus shot for the amateur astronomer: from the left, Barnard's Loop hanging low over the horizon, with the Horsehead Nebula and the Orion Belt (Alnitak, a barely discernible Alnilam and Mintaka) in its center and red and blue giants Betelgeuse and Bellatrix above it; the Hyades open cluster with its "V" asterism making the head of "Taurus", its horns extending above stars Aldebaran and Ain up to the Auriga and the "feet" of the Gemini, and then the renowned Pleiades cluster (hic sunt Thargoides) with the overly bright California Nebula right over it; the constellation of Perseus peeking out from behind Saturn, with the binary Algol just above the planet's edge and young giant Mirphak shining at its center, and right of it Cassiopea, its easily recognizable "W" asterism pointing the way to our neighbour galaxy M31 (Andromeda) and its satellite M110. This view really has it all, so I decide to leave my hurry aside and soak up the scenery once more. I've seen countless starscapes from here to Sag. A*, but that's the only view of the universe we have had for the last several thousands years, and it's something special.


A few minutes and several kilometers later, with Orion fully above the horizon and its most prominent nebula making its appearance, I notice I've reached the 50th parallel and decide to stop there and find a place to set up Camp Near, 130 km later and away from previous Camp Everywhere. I feel lonely and I'd really like to have a teddy bear to hold tight for the night. That huge boulder protruding from the ground just resembles one (the resemblance is striking, isn't it?), so I think I'm going to hug that.
Lucky you teddy boulder, you're going to be my only company for the night ahead, I think I'll have to find you a name...something cuddly, warm and fuzzy. No reading tonight, only cuddles.

Good night, Brutus.

So that's all for now from Camp Near on the 50th parallel of Enceladus, currently planning on reaching at least 20-25° latitudes on my next leg, or the equator altogether if time allows (and as per the last week, it's not allowing :():


My current heading should bring me to a peculiar cluster of overlapped craters a few kilometers south of Camp Near, that could make for some interesting ground to traverse but I'll have to keep my curiosity for the next time.

"Twinkle twinkle little Brutus, as a bear you're really bogus...."
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom