Spirit and Opportunity

Two tough little bastards! They’re still kicking:

Strong like bull!

You know, for an agency that’s becoming a punchline I have to say that at least NASA can do a few things right–if we were a species less interested in blowing each other into tiny pieces and more into cool stuff like this we’d probably already be planet hopping like pros. sigh

Regardless, keep circulating the tapes, guys!

It looks like Opportunity is finally getting serious about entering Victoria Crater.
Without the dust storm, that would’ve happened in mid July.

Considering that there was a real concern that the dust storm was going to kill Opportunity this year, I’m not going to complain too loudly about the delay in entering Victoria Crater.

Not complaining, just impatient. There are some interesting rocks down there.

When will they fight each other?!

Those two little guys deserve a permanent place in a museum.

Of course, that means we owe it to them to establish a permanent colony on Mars.

There’s nothing between them but air (OK, not so much) and … opportunity. :smiley:

Just curious…In reading this article I found it a little odd that the rovers were anthromopomorphized they way they were.

I don’t read a lot about this type of technology and wondered if the words used to describe the rovers were for a lay audience. Or is it the designers and those who work with the rovers that use words more associated with humans than machines.

Here are a couple of examples that seemed odd to me:

“The rovers are in **good health ** and in good shape,” said John Callas, the rover project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

“During the storm, each of the rovers spent a couple of weeks sleeping most of the time.”

“The rovers would only **be awake ** a very short amount of time each day to save power.”

And there is a bit of it in the replies to this thread:

“Those two **little guys ** deserve a permanent place in a museum.”

I am just wondering if the more advanced technology becomes, the more people will be describing it using human terms like “awake” and “sleeping” rather than “powered up” or “turned on” or “turned off?”

Well, good health is a common term for a lot of things.

As for sleeping, vs. turned off - there’s a rather important difference there - AIUI if they turned off the Rovers they wouldn’t be able to recover them. They need certain of their active power uses to maintain themselves in working condition - which was the concern with the recent power crisis. The analogy to a higher animal’s sleeping state - where some energy is being expended on maintenance requirements, while the organism isn’t actually “doing” anything - is pretty obvious. So, while “dormant” might be a more technically correct term, I’m not going to complain about talking about the rovers sleeping, similarly “fully active” is more cumbersome than awake and doesn’t seem to add a further nuance of meaning, IMNSHO.

Calling them “little guys” however, is pretty hard to see as anything but primitive animism, transferred to a very high tech environment.

such terminology isn’t limited to the rovers and in fact better describes the conditions. Wake/Sleep make sense compared to On/Off since the actual conditions are Normal Power/Low Power mode. As for health, why is that Anthropomorphism? At least to me it doesn’t presume that the object being discussed is alive. I talk about the “health” of my computer or car whenever necessary. More meaningful that “state of repair” as hopefully the devise isn’t being repaired most of the time. As far as “little guys” goes, clearly that is an Anthropomorphism.

Besides building excellent robots, NASA fully understands the importance of PR. Making the machine seem more human increases the public attachment which hopefully translates to more money.

I guess my aversion to the “sleep” mode is that it is what my new computer with Vista shows it is doing when I turn it off. The whole Vista thing has been a nightmare for me, so it showing it is “going to sleep” annoys me. But I can see how the rovers’ being dormant and sleeping, could make sense.

This is exactly what I was trying to ask. I wondered if they did it purposely, knowing that would cause people to become more interested and attached in order to get more funding and support.

I also tried using “healthy” to decribe my car, my computer, my calculator, and it didn’t work for me, but wasn’t a big stretch. Although when my computer completely shut down and was beyond repair, I did refer to it as having died. But when my car died, I just meant it stopped running, but could be repaired if someone had access to it and knew what they were doing. In the rovers’ cases, I guess not having anyone around to fix a problem would mean it would be “killed” as someone else phrased it, by a dust storm.
Thanks for the explanations.