The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has recently completed a two year campaign studying Victoria Crater. The campaign culminated in a close approach of Cape Verde in order to acquire high resolution imagery of the exposed stratigraphy in the cliff face. The close approach to Cape Verde provided significant challenges for every subsystem of the rover as the rover needed to traverse difficult, uncharacterised terrain and approach a cliff face with the potential of blocking out solar energy and communications with Earth. In this paper we describe the strategic analyses performed by the science and engineering teams so that we could successfully achieve the science objectives while keeping the rover safe. ??2009 IEEE.