Mars Rover Anniversary

  by  |  January 3rd, 2008  |  Published in All, Physics & Space


 |  Stumble |  Share on Facebook |  Tweet This | 

It’s the fourth anniversary of NASA’s rover mission to Mars and both “Spirit” and “Opportunity” have made it to spots where their solar panels are getting enough power from the planets’ weak winter sunlight. As this ScienCentral News explains, the anniversary marks another incredible milestone, because the rovers were expected to last only a few months.

Tenacious Twins

The twin Mars Exploration Rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity” landed in January 2004 with the mission of exploring Mars for three months. As the years passed we may have begun to take them for granted, but they’ve never ceased to amaze lead scientist Steve Squyres.

“The previous landings on Mars– there had been three: two Vikings and Pathfinder — all involved stationary landers, they couldn’t go anywhere,” Squyres recalled. “And what we wanted to do was to explore in the truest sense of that word.”

That meant giving the robots wheels to travel, camera eyes to see and computer brains to record and communicate, as well as some tools geologists would want along.

After the landings, the biggest challenge continues to be the threat of Martian dust coating their solar power supplies.

The Rovers weathered severe dust storms in July, and are now poised to weather yet another Martian winter. The rover operations teams have driven both rovers to northward-facing slopes to maximize the winter sunlight falling on their solar panels.

Both rovers accomplished the mission of finding evidence of water on Mars within their allotted 90 days, then soldiered on to make more surprising discoveries. Recently, Spirit even capitalized on its dragging right wheel by analyzing the soil it turned up, providing new evidence that Mars may have once harbored life.

While relying on smart maneuvering, conservation and a certain amount of good luck, Squyres learned to accept the missions’ successes while anticipating their eventual end.

“There’s always going to be some tantalizing thing just beyond our reach that we didn’t quite get to,” he said. “And that’s, I guess, the nature of exploration and so we just live with it.”

NASA has extended the rovers’ missions five times, most recently in October, 2007.

“We’re going to keep operating these vehicles until they drop dead,” said Squyres. “And that could be days, weeks, years, I have no idea.”

PUBLICATIONS: presentation at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, December 2008.

RESEARCH FUNDED BY: NASA.


 |  Stumble |  Share on Facebook |  Tweet This | 


Responses

  1. Brad Jacobs says:

    January 8th, 2009 at 9:52 pm (#)

    hi
    1m4ccb2s8ugjz64l
    good luck

  2. Myrtle Little says:

    January 10th, 2009 at 10:45 am (#)

    hi
    1m4ccb2s8ugjz64l
    good luck

  3. book flights ticket says:

    March 22nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm (#)

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I have really loved browsing your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!| book flights ticket http://www.funtraveldeals.com/book-flights/

  4. agate cameos jewellery says:

    March 22nd, 2013 at 4:06 pm (#)

    Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!| agate cameos jewellery http://www.goldmemoriesforever.com

  5. tyflas says:

    March 22nd, 2013 at 4:31 pm (#)

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!| tyflas http://www.takeload.com

  6. fotograf nunta says:

    March 23rd, 2013 at 2:40 am (#)

    you are in reality a excellent webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a wonderful process in this subject!| fotograf nunta http://madvideo.ro/fotograf-de-nunta/

  7. CustomsbrokerageinKeny says:

    March 23rd, 2013 at 8:48 am (#)

    Hi, its pleasant piece of writing on the topic of media print, we all be aware of media is a impressive source of information.| Customs brokerage in Kenya http://mj-resources.net

  8. Google sucks says:

    March 24th, 2013 at 1:00 pm (#)

    Thanks for writing this really good post..Cherished your posts. Please do continue to keep writing Google sucks http://asdasghdsdfs5hf.com

  9. Sanora Boehm says:

    June 7th, 2013 at 12:25 pm (#)

    This is really a incredibly useful chemistry web page.

  10. buy arsenal soccer says:

    November 29th, 2014 at 2:17 am (#)

    Now I am ready to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming yet again to read
    further news.

  11. Fake NMD Human Race says:

    September 28th, 2017 at 11:23 pm (#)

    Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Leave a Response


Archives


Clicky Web Analytics