That’s very cool, exploring another planet. Hell, all the planets we’re learning about these days. It’s a fascinating time for exploration! Even with NASA’s slashed budgets and catastrophic failures, they are becoming the Little Agency That Could.
The thing I’m REALLY stoked to see… is when we land a probe on the surface of Europa, and penetrate the ice, or at least get a better idea of what is down there.
I wish they’d scrap the shuttle and work more on planetary exploration. Because, let’s face it, our planet is doomed sooner or later, so we’d better start setting up bases elsewhere. I’ll be in line for the emigration to Mars for sure. I want a window seat.
That is amazing.
[slight hijack] Does anyone know if the mars rover has any type of self righting device? From what I understand, they plan on driving the thing into the crater after they’ve explored the rim. I’m picturing the rover tumbling down over the lip and they doing nothing but sending upside-down pictures until the batteries die [/slight hijack]
You want tharks, get down into the dead sea bottoms. Everyone knows that!
Tharks, indeed. But if they value their probe they’ll keep it up on the handramit out of the way. If it starts bothering my hnau I shall be forced to make it a body of different movements.
It doesn’t, but so far that hasn’t been a problem. The machines have fairly low centers of gravity, and the operators have been extremely careful about the slopes they try to navigate. I recall seeing a story a few months ago about another crater they were trying to get into, but they had to circle most of the rim before they found an entry point that met their safety standards. Big jobbie like this, they shouldn’t have any trouble locating a gentle natural ramp.
Since finding life would most likely get them a much bigger budget and all kinds of cool new Mars missions (maybe even sending folks there to poke around in person), I doubt they’d keep it quiet.
The missions of Spirit and Opportunity have been seriously cool. What I think may be the most impressive is that they planned for ninety day missions, and here they are two and a half years later, still plugging along.
Sweet! I also get more worked up about this, the previous Mars orbiters/rovers, Galileo, etc. than orbital missions. Now that I think about it, I probably know more about the Venera missions than the next 1000 people on the street (but only the next 20 people here I bet ;))
As Cervaise says, the rovers have a low center of gravity, and can descend fairly steep surfaces safely. If it did roll however, while the front and rear navigational cameras might still be functional, there’s no way the antenna would be able to communicate data.
Basically, it would disappear like the Mars Polar Lander, the Mars Observer, the Mars Climate Orbiter, etc., only it would take less time to figure out what probably went wrong.
In case you’re serious: Sure. They’ll keep secret something that everyone working there has been dreaming about finding since elementary school, and would octuple their operating budget overnight. You betcha. :rolleyes:
By now there should be several websites claiming that these photos are actually coming from a studio in Burbank CA, or some such. Or have the lunar landing theorists not yet brought their stories up to date?
It being winter, rumor has it that the rover needs to travel to the far side of the crater in order to catch enough sunlight to make a descent feasible. There’s also an inferior conjunction of Mars coming up on October 23; so we’ll be losing communications shortly. I expect that they’ll wait until Mars comes out from behind the sun before attempting the crater walls.