Dear Reader, remember the remote-controlled Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity? How long is it since the last time you thought of them? Spirit landed on Mars seven Earth calendar years ago today, Opportunity on 25 January — and at least Oppy still works fine! Spirit has sadly been stuck on the edge of a small dust-filled crater since May 2009, one set of wheels inside and one outside the crater. It is currently incommunicado because of the Martian winter, being in a poor position for solar power. But it still probably works. And Oppy trundles on toward Endeavour crater. Currently it’s taking stereo images at the 80-metre diameter Santa Maria crater. Check out the project’s web site for news!

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  1. #1 Birger Johansson
    January 4, 2011

    Cretan tools point to 130,000-year-old sea travel http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-cretan-tools-year-old-sea.html
    23,000 year old stone wall found at entrance to cave in Greece http://www.physorg.com/news188483227.html

  2. #2 Kris Jenkins
    January 4, 2011

    It’s an engineering coup to think that the rovers are still out there after seven years. I hope that communication is re-established soon.

  3. #4 Martin R
    January 4, 2011

    Aaaw, poor Spirit!

  4. #5 isles
    January 4, 2011

    They can’t send Opportunity to rescue Spirit?

  5. #6 Martin R
    January 5, 2011

    Bit far, I’m afraid, like a transcontinental distance. And once you got Oppy to Spirit you would run an increased risk of damaging/losing Oppy during the rescue operation.

    Spirit will probably be lifted out of that crater one day, but probably only in order to be moved to the Museum of Mars in one of our colonial settlements.

  6. #7 Ian
    January 5, 2011

    Transcontinental distance, and lots of interesting stuff to see along the way.

  7. #8 chris y
    January 10, 2011

    Awesome, really. Mind you, I’ve worked for people who would tell you that the fact that they’re still operational 6 3/4 years after they were suppose to terminate is proof that they’re over-engineered and that next time they should do a worse job, so that it’s just fit for purpose.

  8. #9 Per Edman
    January 13, 2011

    The rovers have been conceptualized, realized, launched, delivered, landed and driven for seven years and Duke Nukem Forever still isn’t finished.

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