12 Years of Martian Opportunity

This week marks the 12 year anniversary of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, part of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission.  Only expected to last 90 days, Opportunity is still working.  Not only functional, it’s still returning good data about Mars. It’s definitely taken a beating, and it has to be careful.  Being powered by solar panels and not a thermonuclear generator like it’s younger cousin Curiosity means it has to be careful to stay in the sunlight.  Dust on the panels certainly reduces their efficiency, but Opportunity has had some help from Martian winds to keep the dust from...

All the Mars Rovers – And Some Scientists

How do the Mars rovers compare in size and features? Here’s a great photo putting it all into perspective. Included are Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity, and Curiosity, with a couple of testing officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  These are not the rovers that were sent to Mars, but are the secondary ones built for testing here on Earth.  They cost a lot of money to build too, so NASA keeps them nice and safe.

Opportunity Mars Panorama Marks 11 Years

The Opportunity rover has just about reached it’s 11 year anniversary of it’s 90 day mission puttering around Mars.  The actual day is tomorrow since the rover landed on January 25th, 2004. To mark its incredible accomplishment, the imaging team produced a lovely panorama of what the rover would see from its current position on a high point along the rim of endeavour crater. The map below shows the path of Opportunity over its past 11 years, from the Eagle crater, to endurance crater, to Victoria crater, and finally on to the much more massive Endeavour crater, where it currently...

Motivation Monday (on Tuesday): Following Through

When I was in University, I was a frosh week rep / spirit leader, meaning we played games and got new students excited about being part of an educational community.  It also gave them a chance to get out of their norm and shake it up, while making some new friends. As part of the training for this, every rep in the school saw a motivational speaker before the week began.  I’ve seen motivational speakers before, in high school,  but I never remembered them.  This guy stuck with me.  It wasn’t because he was funny, he didn’t have some gimmick,...