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Spirit Rover Reaches Safety 147

Posted by Zonk
from the go-little-buddy-go dept.
dylanduck writes "Good news for rover fans - Spirit is safe for the winter. It had been heading for a north-tilting spot to make sure its solar panels got enough sunlight during the imminent winter to survive, when a sand trap appeared. But, despite its busted wheel, it scooted round and is now sitting pretty. From the article: 'We've got a safe rover,' says principal investigator Steve Squyres. 'That's huge news for us.'"
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Spirit Rover Reaches Safety

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  • Tough decisions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:29PM (#15101512) Homepage Journal
    The science team has had to make some tough decisions about which observations to make and which to cut short as the rover hustled across the plains towards a northerly tilting slope. Squyres says Spirit had to leave the circular target dubbed Home Plate earlier than the science team would have liked. But he now says the outcrop at Low Ridge Haven "might be made of the same stuff".

    Yes, its made of rock.

    Now wheres the damn aliens we were promised.

    I know, I know - its really a good thing.
    If it lasts the winter and moves on, dragging a broken wheel around may end up being a blessing in disguise, you never know what it might uncover.
    • If nothing else, driving it around with a broken wheel will probably attract the attention of the Martian Highway Patrol. And you just know how tough they are on those out-of-planet tourist types.
    • dragging a broken wheel around may end up being a blessing in disguise, you never know what it might uncover

      Yeah, it will uncover a very mysterious groove in the dirt that seems to always be along the path it just took... ITs THE ALIENZ!!!!1
    • Re:Tough decisions (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tackhead (54550)
      > Yes, its made of rock.
      >
      > Now wheres the damn aliens we were promised.

      We're right here, you ugly bag of mostly-water. Your master of psychotropically-voyaging primates is presently unavailable, and the Council has temporarily deigned to occupy waterbag 54550 to answer your pathetic cries.

      Once more, panic swept across the beaches of Low Ridge Haven during the Late Autumn Festivals. K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, stressed that there was no cause for alarm:

      "The evil blue planet continu

    • by p51d007 (656414) on Monday April 10, 2006 @08:20PM (#15102581)
      if ALL of NASA worked as well as the Mars rovers?
  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:29PM (#15101517) Homepage Journal
    I really can not believe that the rovers are still running at all.
    NASA did a bang up job on these. Build more and recover the economies of scale!
    -nB
    • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

      by PeelBoy (34769) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:49PM (#15101642) Homepage
      They sure as hell lasted a lot longer than any radio controlled toy I ever owned
      • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Funny)

        by njchick (611256)
        I guess the dust accumulation rate in your apartment is higher than on Mars.
        • I guess the dust accumulation rate in your apartment is higher than on Mars.

          I don't know about his, but it certainly is in mine. They should field-test these things in my apartment before they send them out there, they'd be indestructible! I'll only charge $30,000 per week for a testing area next to the couch. Cheap!
        • The rovers probably don't use a crappy 9.6V NiCad battery either that you have to plug in every 5 minutes.
        • It isn't dust that's the problem - it's hair. At least, in my experience of repairing my children's toys it is. :-(

          Not much hair on Mars, I expect.

      • RC Toys (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689)
        I won't make assumptions about what you did or didn't own, but just about any toy you buy from radio shack, the toy store, or dept. store is utter trash compared to a hobby quality RC vehicle.

        Once you think your kid is old enough to handle the responsibilities of an expensive toy, pick something out from a hobby catalog and introduce them to real RC stuff.

        Compared to a $30~$50 car, yes, it's an expensive investment, but like the rover, you'll get a lot more bang for your buck.
    • by dakirw (831754) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:50PM (#15101650)
      Another good example of NASA's success in the unmanned exploration program, which contrasts nicely with the current issues with the Space Shuttle program and its potential successors. Wonder if any of the administrators in charge of the space probe programs can help implement changes in the manned space program.
      • The shuttle was never intended by NASA scientists/engineers to be like it is. The military needed a space presence as well, and thus ensued some changes/compromises that helped neither NASA or the military. Nasa's original design was for a cheap re-usable 2 stage shuttle, capable of 50+ launches/year - to help build a space station in a low - earth orbit.

        However, the desire to increase it's size, lead to the large external booster tank, the SRB's, all of which reduced the maximal launches to around 20/yea

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Not exactly. The only reason the military requirements got tacked on was because NASA had a hard time selling the original shuttle program to Congress, so they asked the military if they wanted to join the program. While this helped get the program through Congress, it led to the boondoggle we have right now.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sdo1 (213835) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:52PM (#15101658) Journal
      I really can not believe that the rovers are still running at all. NASA did a bang up job on these.

      One might also argue that since they so grossly exceeded their life expectancy then they were overdesigned and cost too much.

      But I agree. Great job.

      Build more and recover the economies of scale!

      Yes! Yes! Yes! I can't understand why they insist on going back to the drawing board every time. I've read about the next generation rovers [space.com]. They're very different in many ways including the way they'll land on Mars.

      I just don't understand why, with the success that Spirt and Opportunity have had, they don't build these as a platform. Surely if the research was put into new instruments that could be attached to the current design, rather than redesigning from scratch, that would be a better use of the money.

      I'm sure (or hope) NASA has thought this through, right?

      -S

      • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:58PM (#15101703) Homepage Journal
        "Build more and recover the economies of scale!

        Yes! Yes! Yes! I can't understand why they insist on going back to the drawing board every time. I've read about the next generation rovers. They're very different in many ways including the way they'll land on Mars. "

        Because there aren't any economies of scale to be had.
        The big cost of the rovers isn't the rover but the launch vehicle and the time on the DSN to keep them running. Mainly the launch vehicle. The Rover themselves are pretty cheap in comparison.
        Also after each mission NASA learns more about what works and doesn't and finds new questions to ask and that requires new tools.
        Finally because stuff gets better over time. You know that Moore's law thing?

        In reality trying to get "economies of scale" from the space program is EXACTLY the wrong way to do things. That is what lead to trying to use the Shuttle for everything.
        The space program should be more about trying new ideas than mass production.
        • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

          by barawn (25691)
          Because there aren't any economies of scale to be had.

          That's not entirely true. The biggest cost savings that a space project (the project, not the launch) can have is preventing systems failure - because a systems failure requires a new launch.

          So while I agree that reusing the rovers is moderately silly, given that certain technologies have proven themselves very very well, I would be extremely upset if those (successful, proven) technologies weren't used in future rover missions.

          In some sense, that is 'ec
          • Heck, MSL still states that solar power is under consideration.

            I'm surprised to hear that solar power is being considered for the next generation of Mars Rovers. That alone would rule out examining any feature with significant relief, like canyons and polar regions. Both Spirit and Opportunity got aid in cleaning off their solar panels from Martian wind gusts.

            Would any engineer want to sign off on a design that requires sporadic Martian wind in order to keep power levels high? Without solar panel c

            • To be fair, Spirit and Opportunity are nowhere near each other - which means that the panel cleaning events have to be pretty ubiquitous. They've also persisted for over two years, which, while it's still a small timespan, tells you that they're not extremely uncommon.

              MSL might be a multi-rover mission (like MER) - which implies that solar panels/batteries might be a reasonable solution for some subset of the rovers.

              To be honest, they're probably just a little surprised at how useful solar power has been fo
        • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WindBourne (631190)
          Of course, what is really missed here, is that if we stayed with what was suggested, we would still be using the viking which never moved (~1000Kg). Or we would be using pathfinder that carried only 10 Kilos. Finally, the current rovers are about 180 kg (big improvement). But they will all be dwarfed by the capablilities of the MSL which will around 1000 Kgs and will move a great deal further and faster. So each time, these have increase about 10 fold with improved instruments. It would be interesting to s
        • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

          by khallow (566160)
          Because there aren't any economies of scale to be had. The big cost of the rovers isn't the rover but the launch vehicle and the time on the DSN to keep them running. Mainly the launch vehicle. The Rover themselves are pretty cheap in comparison. Also after each mission NASA learns more about what works and doesn't and finds new questions to ask and that requires new tools. Finally because stuff gets better over time. You know that Moore's law thing?

          Moore's law doesn't apply to the launch vehicle, but ec

      • "Surely if the research was put into new instruments that could be attached to the current design, rather than redesigning from scratch, that would be a better use of the money."

        That and maybe little tweaks that would improve performance. Kind of like Rover 1.0 (current model), 1.1 (Improved Flash memory). Treat this as a test platform and attach whatever modules you want to it. Send it off to anywhere on mars or the moon (asteroid belt?) where there is enough sunlight and explore the hell out of it.
        -nB
      • I really can not believe that the rovers are still running at all. NASA did a bang up job on these.

        One might also argue that since they so grossly exceeded their life expectancy then they were overdesigned and cost too much.

        One might argue that. One might, equally as fruitfully, argue that the earth is flat. The simple fact is this; the key pacing item for the life expectancy of the rovers is the amount of dust that collects on the solar panels - and a series of fortuitous events have prevented the du

      • I can't understand why they insist on going back to the drawing board every time.

        They don't.

        Spirit and Opportunity reused:
        • Sojourner's obstacle avoidance system design.
        • Pathfinder's airbag landing system design.
        • Viking's aeroshell design.
        • Pathfinder's cruise stage design.
        • Pathfinder's APXS design (*).

        And probably half a dozen other portions I'm not even suggesting here. Note that they didn't reuse them exactly the same - that'd be silly, they tweaked them, of course. But the Mars rovers missions have been reusi

      • > I just don't understand why, with the success that Spirit and Opportunity have had, they don't build these as a platform.

        You'll be pleased to know that they did this once already -- Spirit and Opportunity are themselves descendants of the Sojourner rover, using the same landing system and tetrahedral platform with solar panels.

        According to the "Nova" show I saw about these, though, they're already at about the limit of this technology -- these rovers had a lot of extra complicated features which allowe
    • I really can not believe that the rovers are still running at all.
      NASA did a bang up job on these. Build more and recover the economies of scale!
      - I don't think it's NASA problem to recover economical value from their work, but they could in principle spin-off a firm that would use NASA tech for other purposes. Maybe we could use robots like this here, on Earth?

      I think NASA uses the proven design decisions in their new development work, but how would they really know what works best without trying the thi
    • Re:Amazing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      "I really can not believe that the rovers are still running at all.
      NASA did a bang up job on these. Build more and recover the economies of scale!"

      Not long from now people will start speculating that the rovers are CGI animation and start finding hundreds of "deffects" in the Mars shots that demonstrate they've been "Photoshopped".

      It's kinda already happening in the form of humor and parody.

      It happened with the Moon landing.

      People are cruel, people are doubtful. You can respect the latter but pitty the form
    • Re: Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

      by shigelojoe (590080) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:11PM (#15101776)
      My guess is that NASA mixed up metric days and imperial days when they were making their lifetime estimates.
    • Undoubtedly they had to guess at what would be needed in the way of a rover when these were built.
      Now that they know, surely the next ones will greatly benefit from the experience.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Frangible (881728)
      Just think of what their lifespan would be with atomic batteries instead of solar cells. They would not be degraded by dust that couldn't be cleaned, wouldn't be non-functional for the winter, and could deliver much more energy for faster movement. The Voyager space probes used atomic batteries and last I heard, still worked after 30+ years. Wikipedia shows that their atomic batteries now produce 319 watts, from 470 initially.

      For comparison, the rovers produce only 140 watts during peak solar times (4 h

    • The Energizer battery company should be all over these rovers as sponsors. A better association comes but once in a lifetime. The rovers to batteries are Michael Jordon to shoes.
    • NASA did a bang up job on these

      I think you mean they didn't bang these ones up. They did a bang-up job on the Mars Polar Lander [slashdot.org].

  • by dotpavan (829804) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:30PM (#15101522) Homepage
    ..Spirit is safe for the winter..

    I was really getting worried about my winter supply! :P

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems like it's safe, but then the Sarlacc opens its big ugly mouth and the next thing you know, the rover is being digested for 1,000 years.
    • There was a young man from the East
      Who unwillingly served as a feast,
      For his ship, it did fall
      To the planet of Trall
      Near a ravenous bug-blatter beast.

      (Oh yes, I wrote this all on my own!)
    • It seems like it's safe, but then the Sarlacc opens its big ugly mouth and the next thing you know, the rover is being digested for 1,000 years.

      Which will provide us with lots of fantastic scientific data about the biology of the Martian Sarlacc, and perhaps will help xenobiologists determine where it fits on the evolutionary tree in relation to the better-studied Tatooine Sarlacc.

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:35PM (#15101552) Homepage Journal
    Now I go get my (well-deserved) Monday evening 6 pack of beer without a twinge of guilt. Way to go Rover.
  • by sdo1 (213835) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:42PM (#15101593) Journal
    ... the windows "hibernate" feature.

    "Ok... wake up"

    "I'm sorry Dave. Everything you were working on is know kaput and I've forgotten about everything that you were doing. By the way, where did that network connection go?"
    • I wonder why people still make Windows hibernation jokes. Yes, it was incredibly bad at one point. But nothing was as bad as the sound driver for a Linux laptop I had which would occasionally scream at maximum volume when restored from sleep. (And at that time I had to write a bunch of scripts to wake things like networking back up again after sleeping, something that "just worked" under Windows.) Despite my affection for the device, even my MacOS X PowerBook fails to wake properly from sleep on a semi-regu
      • People make fun of Windows hibernation because it *still* doesn't work. My PowerBook works most of the time, but more often than not with windows it will just sit there and drain your battery in 6 hours and not hibernate at all.
        • Actually, plug a device into a PowerBook while the lid is closed and you have non-trivial chance of it waking up, waking up the driver for the device, crashing, remaining on, and doing serious damage because the case can't dissipate the heat while the lid is closed. I'm now careful not to plug in a device while the lid is closed. A few times I tried backups at the end of the day leaving my laptop to finish the process during the night and trusting it to hibernate automatically when finished. But most times
        • My PC and laptop are both pretty good at hibernation. As per other posters, I probably reboot once every few m,onths, but hibernate every night.

          Most likely it's dodgy hardware/drivers that makes Windows Hibernation fail.
  • by MudButt (853616) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:43PM (#15101597)
    AHH! Damn rover cost me 20G's! My bookie's gunna break my legs...

    Las Vegas Releases Odds For Mars Probe Trifecta-of-Failure [newshax.com]

  • by ToxikFetus (925966) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:52PM (#15101656)
    So NASA drove Spirit into a sand trap? The last time I drove a golf cart into a sand trap, I got my ass banned from the local links.
  • It's too bad that they were forced to give up on getting over to McCool hill. If you look at the map [nasa.gov] referenced in this update [nasa.gov], you realize that they just gave up on the farther safe slopes in favor of the slope immediately at hand. But if it survives to survey through another martian summer, I suppose it's worth it.
    • gave up on the farther safe slopes in favor of the slope immediately at hand.

      Yes but they found a (small) red spot. Its not like spirit has to set up camp or anything. As long as the solar panels face north it should be ok.

      TFA mentions being close to an outcrop. I haven't seen pictures yet. I wonder what the chance is of a thick sheet of dust being blown on to the rover by a winter storm.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:54PM (#15101673)
    The busted wheel has been confirmed as a design flaw, and the manufacturers sub contracted by NASA, Martian Rovers R' Us have issued an immediate recall of all rovers. DHL are expected to pick Spirit up tomorrow for refurbishment.
    • NASA actually has more than one Rover.

      They sent one to Mars and kept at least one on Earth to use for trouble shooting. When the wheel failed, they 'broke' the same wheel on their test model and played around with it before futzing with the real thing.
  • Well now, (Score:2, Insightful)

    Once again we see the advantages of an unmanned space program over our manned one. Now I am really for manned exploration of space, I'm just against nasa doing it. They have way more success on their unmanned programs (not to mention more bang for your buck). Look at voyager look at the mars rovers look at their new mission to pluto. I wish the nasa administration would see that they need to stop taking money from our unmanned programs to waste on our shuttle and shuttle derived programs.
    • Re:Well now, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:01PM (#15101724)
      Once again we see the advantages of an unmanned space program over our manned one.

      I'm sorry but I don't see it. Care to elaborate on this point?

      While I do think the rovers are a great success I can't help but think that if we would make the proper moves to getting people to the moon we could make space exploration cheaper. Also consider that it's taken the rovers over a year to do what a manned exploration could have completed in a week.

      Aside from the durability of the crafts there is little to be amazed by here.
      • Also consider that it's taken the rovers over a year to do what a manned exploration could have completed in a week
        Since the manned exploration is a grand dream for a later administration to start on and pay for it's hardly relevant is it? A lot of unmanned exploration can happen for years before we even have a viable launch vehicle, simply because the rovers don't need food or oxygen and other heavy and expensive to move requirements.
        • Since the manned exploration is a grand dream for a later administration to start on and pay for it's hardly relevant is it?

          Since this particular thread deals with manned vs. unmanned spaceflight I think my argument is very relevant.

          A lot of unmanned exploration can happen for years before we even have a viable launch vehicle, simply because the rovers don't need food or oxygen and other heavy and expensive to move requirements.

          I would rather see NASA (or whomever) funnel the lion's share of their fun
          • the concept of space mining, colonization, etc etc

            Well yes, they are well and truly in the exploration stage instead - which robots are very good at. The much cheaper robots can look around and the best they find is what's worth sending people on a three+ year round trip that takes many years to plan to take a closer look at. Efforts are being made towards colonisation technology - like the hydroponics facility at the south pole designed to be similar to what you would use on the moon.

            The disparaging com

    • Re:Well now, (Score:2, Informative)

      by Volante3192 (953645)
      I don't see any problem with the Apollo missions. Those were NASA and manned.

      The shuttle came into play when NASA decided to send up experiments with the astronauts. The bay gave them a massive storage space to play with. Problem is the shuttle burned out long ago. It's well past warranty and needs a replacement badly...cept we're stuck with the shuttle until the ISS is finished since parts are built with the shuttle's bay in mind.

      No other rocket in service has the storage space like the shuttle does if
      • Re:Well now, (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Viking Coder (102287)
        I don't see any problem with the Apollo missions. Those were NASA and manned.

        Apollo 1 - Virgil Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee.

        NASA gets burned hard when they lose a probe...

        NASA gets burned worse when they lose astronauts.

        It's completely impossible for a human to make it to another solar system within my lifetime - but using microwave-based solar sails, it's possible to send a camera through a nearby solar system and get pictures back, in that timeframe.

        I'm not voting against manned missions - I'm just vo
        • It's completely impossible for a human to make it to another solar system within my lifetime - but using microwave-based solar sails, it's possible to send a camera through a nearby solar system and get pictures back, in that timeframe.

          You plan to live long, I see. The fastest interstellar probe we've made (Voyager I) would take 73,000 years to reach the next star (267,000 AU at 3.64 AU/year) - in fact, sending images back would take 4.23 years just for the signal to get here. What propulsion technique we u
          • You should read some of Robert L. Forward's work.

            The idea is to make a microwave sail with a camera - that's it. Then you blast microwave energy at the thing to make it go, go, go! You keep blasting microwaves at it for the entire journey - accelerating it the entire time. You get to a pretty significant percentage of the speed of light.

            The propulsion technique is everything - you don't slingshot around jupiter - you push straight to your destination. The whole point is that you're not carrying your fue
    • Re:Well now, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by masklinn (823351) <slashdot,org&masklinn,net> on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:16PM (#15101797)

      They have way more success on their unmanned programs

      Not really, space is not your local highway and a dozen dead astronauts over twice as many years is not that high of a price. They're aware of the risks involved (as any pilot is), the NASA is aware of them too, only the public ever cries bloody murder, but that's because the public is idiotic.

      Many more lives will be lost during the conquest of space, it's part of the game, and the number of lives taken by the whole space conquest is still lower than the daily death toll of car accidents across the US.

      • Re:Well now, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScottLindner (954299) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:27PM (#15101853)
        "and the number of lives taken by the whole space conquest is still lower than the daily death toll of car accidents across the US."

        No doubt.

        Another point about manned and unmanned. The unmanned is great for simple things like this. It can go on and on doing very simple tasks and won't get tired of doing it. The manned flights are for sophisticated situations, but there's another less obvious point. PUshing to get people out there, will develop new technologies in life support that can be used for many other industries both in space, and here at home. Even if we develop great technologies to live in a colony on the moon, or on Mars, we can use those same technologies to extend our stay here on this planet. Since we're doing a good job of burning this one up that cannot support the numbers of people we have.

        I know you are not protesting the manned space flight. I just wanted to comment that there are many great reasons for manned space flight that are less obvious than the per mission benefits of the manned flight itself. It would be very unwise to try to send a man to another galaxy on the first shot, if we never figured out how to do it locally first.

        Cheers,
        Scott
        • The manned flights are for sophisticated situations, but there's another less obvious point. PUshing to get people out there, will develop new technologies in life support that can be used for many other industries both in space, and here at home. Even if we develop great technologies to live in a colony on the moon, or on Mars, we can use those same technologies to extend our stay here on this planet. Since we're doing a good job of burning this one up that cannot support the numbers of people we have.

          OK

          • You could take NASA's entire budget and just rename it the "Civilian and Military R&D Slush Fund" and it would be much more efficient, as it wouldn't continue wasting money on one of their big line-items: getting stuff out of the atmosphere.

            yeah, forget shit like satelites... who needs that crap anyway. The billions spent on the R&D to get them there was wasted, nothing but a fad that will die down soon.
    • I tend to agree. NASA's obsession with the manned space program is political -- stemming back to Kennedy. It was worth the symbolism then. I'm not sure it is now. People are not ready for interplanetary missions, even the moon. We have to build solid, reliable, and affordable technology and that is not there yet. If this means starting from orbital missions and ISS, fine. The whole "Back to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond" BS by the current administration is nothing more than hot air and smoke (which, inc
    • hey have way more success on their unmanned programs (not to mention more bang for your buck).

      It depends on what you mean by success. The Mars rover missions have failed more than 2/3 of the time. Those aren't really good odds.
    • Once again we see the advantages of an unmanned space program over our manned one.
      Just as point of reference - what Spirit has accomplished (in terms of ground covered and science performed) in a little over two years, could be accomplished by a trained geologist in a little over two weeks.
    • See what now? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) *
      Once again we see the advantages of an unmanned space program over our manned one.

      Were you referring to a craft with a broken wheel that would take about ten seconds for a human to replace if there were one close at hand?

      Or the fact that the entire life of both rovers has done about as much science as a human could do in a day, if they took a long lunch?

      It's like if you had built a scooter that carried you to the end of your driveway, then proclaimed that no-one would ever need an aeroplane. The two things
  • Principal investigator Steve Squyres (mentioned in the /. summary) is the author of the fantastic book about building and deploying the rovers: Roving Mars : Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet [amazon.com].
  • 1000 Years (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darthservo (942083)
    It had been heading for a north-tilting spot to make sure its solar panels got enough sunlight during the imminent winter to survive, when a sand trap appeared.

    Good thing it got around the "sand trap", otherwise it would have found a new definition of pain and suffering as it was slowly digested over a thousand years.

  • "McCool Hill", "Low Ridge Haven"

    What a nice names! One thing I love about English and English naming in general is that English really cares about places and good naming habbits in general.

    Most of the Americans take it as "a normal thing", but don't forget people that there are still nations and languges that do not care, they use latin characters like a whore, take languages of eastern Europe for example, full of phoneticaly written words that use latin characters in inproper/bad way. God bless Ameri
    • I dunno about that...

      From Woody's Point to Come by Chance,
      To good ol' Fairyland!
      Come take a look at Gander,
      Blackhead's mighty grand!
      Don't let the names deceive you,
      Newfoundland's mighty fine.
      So spend a night in Dildo,
      If you think you've got the time.
    • On behalf of English speakers everywhere, we apologize for idiotic Slashdot moderators who saw fit to slap you for a heartfelt expression of goodwiill. As the saying goes, see you in metamod, faceless jackals (or perahps I should use something else that begins with jack).

      I do not myself know if it's exactly an English thing though so much as a space science thing, I would wager that space oriented scientists have a lot of imagination to devote to names - or at least a lot of desire to do so.

      Mars science ha
  • by jouvart (915737) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:12PM (#15102172)
    We've already had plenty of "lame" tags on the stupid articles. It's time we started tagging stuff "awesome". If anything, the rovers most definitely deserve it for their progress.
  • by HoneyBeeSpace (724189) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:04PM (#15102765) Homepage
    It is a shame that Maestro [telascience.org] appears to have stopped updating their data.

    Still, it is excellent software, and fun to use even if you don't get where Spirit is today. With Maestro you can see what the rovers see, and what the rover operators and instruments see... Actual software used in mission control.

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