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8 Years on Mars: 'Amazing' NASA Rover Still Going Strong

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posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 01:45 PM
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A NASA rover celebrates eight years on the Martian surface today (Jan. 24), and the long-lived robot is still going strong. The Opportunity rover landed on the Red Planet at 9:05 p.m. PST Jan. 24, 2004 (12:05 a.m. EST Jan. 25), three weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down. While NASA declared Spirit dead last year, Opportunity continues to gather data in its dotage, helping scientists understand more and more about Mars' wetter, warmer past. "It is amazing. I have to remind myself — my God, this thing is still going!" said John Callas, Opportunity's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "But more importantly, it is still very productive on the surface."






Following the water Spirit and Opportunity were originally supposed to spend 90 days searching for signs of past water activity on Mars. The solar-powered robots found plenty of such evidence at their disparate landing sites, dramatically reshaping scientists' understanding of the Red Planet and its history.


Source www.space.com...

It's amazing this is still going strong after so many years. It'll be interesting to see what the future holds once they gear up and investigate the planet some more. I'm sure more exciting things will be found.. and unfortunately more photo's of "anomalies", skulls and the like


Thoughts/opinions?


edit on 24-1-2012 by Popular because: (no reason given)

edit on 24-1-2012 by Popular because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 01:55 PM
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This has been a real exciting mission to watch over the years. Talk about the little engine that could! lol...

Now I figure they made a couple of these..and they would still have all the plans and spec sheets for making more of them, right? If this isn't a proven design for success, what is? So..Let's mass produce several dozen of these little rovers and send a virtual fleet of them for more thorough exploration. By the time man touches Martian soil, we could have the majority mapped from GROUND level in some pretty solid detail, at least for those areas we'd plan to actively work in. Why not?

Perhaps this little things could work equally well on other planets in our system? There are a couple..like Venus..that might be worth a shot, since the design is obviously a gold plated winner.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:04 PM
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YAY! GO NASA!

I like when science has a success like this, especially on my favorite planet MARS!

Too bad they lost Spirit...or should I say too bad Spirit went Covert...hehe



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:13 PM
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This is so cool!

I cant believe its been alive and roaming since 2004, I wish the government would budget more money NASA's way because this is just proven success. Then again Spirit did die supposedly, maybe Opportunity is just luck, but then again maybe not. Great thread, thanks.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:13 PM
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reply to post by Popular
 


pssst...

Toss us a link to the source material



I'd like to think that someday [Hopefully] soon we will make a trip to Mars and recover them and place them in a museum for all to see the little rovers that could...and did! I think the rovers did one hell of a job considering their original mission parameters. I'm looking forward to the next much larger rover.

Stay tuned.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Relax, power went out before I got to update original post.

Updating from my phone :/

www.space.com...



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


They have improved plans, no need to build more of those tiny limited things.

The key component in the new Mars Science Laboratory 'Curiosity' is its nuclear radioisotope power source which leads to;

• Continuous operation even in the absence of or low light limiting the solar powered rover of past.
• Heat from the power source cycled through the new curiosity's instruments extending expected life, eliminating varying temperature extremes.
• Plaguing the little rovers were all operations had to cease during traversing and transmitting of data.
• Curiosity is able to have 10x the science instrumentation
• The rate of plutonium decay could provide power to Curiosity for 88 years
• No worries about sand or abrasion effecting Curiosity's power source, unlike the concerns of possible damage to solar panels.
• JUNO's mission to orbit the Jovian system will mark the furthest from the sun a solar powered craft has ever functioned, thanks largely to 3 huge 9 by 30 feet solar panels, unthinkable for any rover to have or operate from.

Just to name a few.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:46 PM
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Rechargeable Solar Batteries come in Handy.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:51 PM
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Originally posted by Illustronic
reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


They have improved plans, no need to build more of those tiny limited things.

The key component in the new Mars Science Laboratory 'Curiosity' is its nuclear radioisotope power source which leads to;

• Continuous operation even in the absence of or low light limiting the solar powered rover of past.
• Heat from the power source cycled through the new curiosity's instruments extending expected life, eliminating varying temperature extremes.
• Plaguing the little rovers were all operations had to cease during traversing and transmitting of data.
• Curiosity is able to have 10x the science instrumentation
• The rate of plutonium decay could provide power to Curiosity for 88 years
• No worries about sand or abrasion effecting Curiosity's power source, unlike the concerns of possible damage to solar panels.
• JUNO's mission to orbit the Jovian system will mark the furthest from the sun a solar powered craft has ever functioned, thanks largely to 3 huge 9 by 30 feet solar panels, unthinkable for any rover to have or operate from.

Just to name a few.


I'd thought about that, in making bigger and better versions..but NASA and manned space programs in general seem to have an absolutely dismal success rate. If something even makes it to space and out of orbit...then makes it to the destination....it may or may not even work. Of course, this assumes it lands on that far away surface and doesn't lawn dart at super sonic speeds. I imagine there are a couple craters on Mars that weren't there before we started sending probes.

Why not stick with what works......when there is still SO MUCH for rovers/probes at this level to accomplish? Why always throw away a working model that won't require the billions in research and development, when it's done and a proven system?

Oh Well... That's government I guess. ALWAYS in search of fxing what isn't broken so a new version can be made that WILL break.


I guess this is why we're decades past Apollo and still looking up at the moon as a place we've BEEN...a few times...so long ago, and all in the past tense.
edit on 24-1-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 03:02 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


I don't understand what you are saying, Curiosity is a rover, JUNO is an orbiter–a space probe, exactly what is manned? JUNO will be able to be in continuous view of the sun throughout its operational lifespan, except for very brief traverses near moons that will only block part of the sun's view, a polar orbit mostly around Jupiter mean JUNO will only have brief solar eclipses.

The little rovers have half of their operational life halted by night, about the same as on earth, also Mars has seasons, which make operations in Mar's winters shorter than a half day. Plus the rovers cant really venture to shaded valleys where signs of past water sediments are more likely.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 04:12 PM
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Damn, you beat me to it


Would have been first, but I just returned from work, but in any case "WAY TO GO, OPPORTUNITY!!!"


January 24, 2012 Eight years after landing on Mars for what was planned as a three-month mission, NASA's enduring Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is working on what essentially became a new mission five months ago.


Anycase, here is the NASA link :
www.jpl.nasa.gov...
edit on 24/1/2012 by Hellhound604 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 09:24 PM
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Spirit didn't die.. It was
Murdered by Optimus prime!



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by Popular
 


Which as a Scientist, begs the question,, not why is it still running,, which of course is obviously, not the question,, the real question is,,







What is it here on this Earth,,
( the missing equation or nulified equation,, which governs all Battery Loss,,
has been violated
brutally i might add!! ,..
What could perform such a deed? ) lol

that kills battery life?

ahhhhhhh,,,, and the answer too that will get u the Nobel Prize,, and a lot of $$$$$,, and CHICKS!,,
and Computer Stuff,, )

Your Friendly NeighbourHiggs SpiderMan.




posted on Jan, 25 2012 @ 12:14 AM
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reply to post by Illustronic
 

The thread is about Opportunity. My point was simply that the rover design is proven, to say the very least, as a deployable system that works for a change. It's been proven twice..and FAR beyond any original mission expectations for how long they'd live.

Of course the rovers are limited, so...send many of them to get as much as can be had from this method of exploring. I'll bet there are many places on the surface of Mars that would be great to see up close with a rover like Opportunity. I can think of a couple dozen a little rover like that would absolutely identify as something of real interest or just an oddly shaped formation of natural rock. I'll bet many here have their own mental lists.

The downside I'm rather put off by is simply that working systems are skipped over, as these are, to grab for bigger and better. So, fine, so long as it isn't coming at the expense of the working and proven efforts being advanced. So far though, the new, shiny toys come at the total exclusion of all that have come before and proven to work.

The rovers and the shuttle are two good examples of things that worked and could simply have new models made to duplicate what's already good to go. Instead, it's 10's of billions into the future just to get past planning stages.


edit on 25-1-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: minor correction.



posted on Jan, 25 2012 @ 04:59 AM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by Illustronic
 

Of course the rovers are limited, so...send many of them to get as much as can be had from this method of exploring. I'll bet there are many places on the surface of Mars that would be great to see up close with a rover like Opportunity.


Which leads exactly to the point I made about the new rover Curiosity. Don't you see the flaw in what you just said? "Of course they are limited, so make more of them"–(paraphrased). Don't you understand that 'the many places of interest', especially for the water on Mars community, that the Opportunity/Spirit rovers are ill equipped to explore?

Enter a new and improved Curiosity rover, that is equipped to go to the places the old designs can't.

All I was pointing out was that there is no logic in driving the Model-T your whole life because it was reliable while ignoring the advances in auto technology much better equipped to advance the original purpose and expand it.



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