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53 comments

Very Cool. (4, Interesting)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23525928)

Very Cool Indeed.

Lets hope the Phoenix Lander [arizona.edu] finds something too :) Countdown is currently at 1day, 15 hrs...

Re:Very Cool. (5, Funny)

mog007 (677810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526128)

Only on Slashdot can somebody call a hydrothermal vent "very cool" and get modded "interesting"...

Very True and Very Cool (1, Interesting)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526340)

I call it metamoderated democracy in blog format; you call it slashdot. People their express opinions in mostly civil discourse. What an awesome, liberating concept!

Re:Very Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23529202)

> Only on Slashdot can somebody call a hydrothermal vent "very cool" and get modded "interesting"...

That was a mistake. It should've been modded "informative" ...

Re:Very Cool. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23530216)

Only on Slashdot can somebody call a hydrothermal vent "very cool" and get modded "interesting"...

The downside is that its also a perfect segue to post a goatse link.
       

Re:Very Cool. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537711)

Some of us actually do live on volcanoes (you insensitive clod).

Imagine what *people* could learn? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23527846)

It's time to stop dicking around with the T-800's and time to send *real* geologists, hydrologists, and paleo-whatevers.

Re:Imagine what *people* could learn? (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23529526)

Right now, they wouldn't learn anything, because they would be dead. If NASA is dicking around with anything, it would be the ISS. Haul that low orbit pile of resources into a much more stable orbit, and then use it for parts/construction platform for a station with centrifugal gravity and as close to a closed ecosystem as we can manage. [esa.int] Until we improve those technologies, to the level of near permanent space habitats, then multi-year space exploration will be the sole domain of robots.

Re:Imagine what *people* could learn? (1)

Vorghagen (1154761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534457)

Right now, they wouldn't learn anything, because they would be dead. If NASA is dicking around with anything, it would be the ISS. Haul that low orbit pile of resources into a much more stable orbit, and then use it for parts/construction platform for a station with centrifugal gravity and as close to a closed ecosystem as we can manage. [esa.int] Until we improve those technologies, to the level of near permanent space habitats, then multi-year space exploration will be the sole domain of robots.

...a station with centrifugal gravity...
Sorry to be pedantic, but Centifugal Force [xkcd.com]

Re:Very Cool. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23533607)

Depends on the speed and point of impact.

Kudos! (5, Interesting)

captn ecks (525113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23525940)

Even it's broken dragging wheel makes informative discoveries on the Martian surface. The Mars rovers are surely one of our most successful robotic missions ever. Kudos to JPL and NASA and the American Congress for keeping to fund these missions. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for the Phoenix lander this Sunday - landing is at approximately 5PM EST this Sunday on NASA TV.

Re:Kudos! (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526008)

I thought Congress recently slashed funding for the Mars rovers. I could be wrong, though.

Re:Kudos! (3, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526022)

I'm positive I remember reading something about that too...

Personally, I think they should mass produce more of those rovers and blast them off to mars.... spirit and opportunity were sent to two very boring places on mars that were deemed as safe as possible to land after so many previous failures.

We should be sending rovers nearer to the poles, to olympus mobs, to valles marineris... etc. Think of the fascinating stuff we'd find if we actually sent rovers somewhere INTERESTING.

Re:Kudos! (4, Funny)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526042)

"Olympus Mobs?" I guess you really are a World of Warcraft addict :p

Re:Kudos! (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526054)

OMG, I can't believe I made that typo :)

Yes, I really am a wow addict, been playing since 2004 :)

Olympus MONS!

Re:Kudos! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23526306)

Are you implying there are trolls in there?

That would be a mistake (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526428)

While these rovers are pretty cool, they really do not contain that much equipment. In addition, once landed, they really do not travel that far. Instead, we would be better served with either a unique airplane or a balloon model. While they are testing the airplane idea, I would think that unless the wings can fold up, that when the infamous mars storms hit, that it will be all over. The balloon idea has the advantage of being able to fold up tight, but it can not be as easily controlled. One idea that I saw out there was to release 5-10 balloons with cameras and no ability to land. Right now, MRO has a camera that sees .3M, but an inexpensive camera on the balloon, should be able to take that much smaller due to height and far less atmosphere.

Quite honestly, the rovers are simple extensions of pathfinder, but we now need a combination of large jumps for spot checks and the ability to do a lot more science. The balloon approach would give us the ability to jump with small tests, while the MSL will be the logical outcome of the rovers combined with polar express. The biggest item that will come from the polar express will simply be the landing under power.

Difficult? (3, Interesting)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526602)

Would they even work on Mars? The pressure is less than 1/1000th that of the Earth, or the same pressure as over 30 miles up on Earth. The U-2 spy plane only flew about 13 miles high and the SR-71 only reaches 15 miles. High-altitude weather balloons don't get much over 20 miles up I don't think. While the decreased gravity on Mars might help with the plane idea, would it help with the balloon? Just curious, but wouldn't the decreased gravity adversely affect the buoyancy as much as it would help by making the payload lighter?

Re:Difficult? (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526642)

There are a number of models that are being experimented with that should work. Obviously helium AND will have a much small payload than here due to decreased density. The problem will be that the balloons will NOT go high up. That means if they hit Olympus Mons, well, it is stuck. They have also tested several wings that they are looking at for preditor type aircrafts. They are doing that work over here in Colorado.

Re:Difficult? (2, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23528216)

In the Martian atmosphere, Hydrogen works better as a lifting gas. It'll give more lift per cubic meter than helium, lighter for launching into space and can compress into smaller canisters for in flight transportation. All this without the corresponding dangers and safety concerns since there is no oxygen in the Martian atmosphere to mix with it and make it explosive.

Re:Difficult? (2, Informative)

chaboud (231590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23527684)

Minor correction, but the atmospheric pressure on Mars is generally said to be 1/150th of that of earth, or between 6 to 10 millibars.

Re:Difficult? (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537115)

Thanks, I read the source wrong. That is not nearly as bad then...

Re:Difficult? (1)

DaftShadow (548731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23529224)

Check out X-Plane MARS [x-plane.com] and test some designs for yourself. :)

Re:That would be a mistake (4, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526834)

The biggest item that will come from the polar express will simply be the landing under power.

They landed the Vikings that way over 30 years ago, it's hardly new.

Re:Kudos! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23527380)

"We should be sending rovers nearer to the poles"
They are solar powered... I don't think they would too well at the pole.
Now if they put a SNAP on one that would rock.

Re:Kudos! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23530334)

Personally, I think they should mass produce more of those rovers and blast them off to mars.... spirit and opportunity were sent to two very boring places on mars that were deemed as safe as possible to land after so many previous failures.

I agree, a bunch of Sojourner-sized rovers (without the lander pod) should be sent to higher-risk areas. The "ice-trees" [members.shaw.ca] and "ice-tubes" [xtl-ak.com] would be additional cool places to visit besides the ones you listed. If they have a dozen or so, scientists & engineers would be less nervous about going to interesting but risky places.
   

Re:Kudos! (4, Informative)

captn ecks (525113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526058)

No, that was a mistake by over zealous accountants - NASA Administrator Michael Griffin quickly corrected that and promised continued full funding for both rovers as long as they continue to operate.

Re:Kudos! (2, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526230)

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin quickly corrected that and promised continued full funding for both rovers as long as they continue to operate.

That's good to know (I hadn't heard that anywhere), though Spirit is essentially out of commission for a few more months due to winter weather, unless it gets its solar panels cleaned off by wind. Right now it's having a hard enough time just keeping warm. [nasa.gov]

Re:Kudos! (3, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526372)

Put another way, learning from a broken, dragging wheel clearly demonstrates how very little we know about our neighbor.

Re:Kudos! (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526722)

If it took me years to get to my neighbors I probably wouldn't know them very well either.

Re:Kudos! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23530232)

If it took me years to get to my neighbors I probably wouldn't know them very well either.

Try breaking their legs and dragging them around.
       

Re:Kudos! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23533617)

It only takes years because they keep shooting the probes down.

Re:Kudos! (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#23529990)

I imagine a time hundreds of years from now when our civilization has fallen and been reborn and we are studying Mars and scientists are getting excited by the strange patterns they're seeing drawn onto the surface of Mars. Weird geometric lines that must mean that intelligent life has lived on Mars - quite forgetting the time we drew the lines ourselves with a messed up rover.

Uh oh (2, Funny)

Drenaran (1073150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526142)

Oh my... so many possibilities for "accidentally uncovers thermal vent" come to mind. God knows I'm going to try and make some sort of joke and at least one girl I know is going to slap me. I suppose you can't really worry too much about the inevitable though...

Re:Uh oh (3, Funny)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526212)

Just link goatse like a normal troll. That vent clearly belongs to a Sony executive, and is thus filled with hot air with which said being can speak.

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23527258)

I don't think you know any girls.

Enjoy your joke.

Oops (5, Funny)

Magdalene (263144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526368)

It is certainly amazing that the rover is still running well after original mission end date and altogether amusing that, much like most other brilliant advances in science, the hydrothermal vent evidence was discovered completely by accident.

Chance; 'the powers that be'; chaos; coincidence; divine intervention; flying spaghetti monster or just the universes' subversive perverse version of humour; you get the feeling that if it weren't for an infinite amount of insanely improbable accidents, not only science but life as we know it just wouldn't have happened.

Come to think of it, The *Big Bang* probably happened because Chaos and God were up in God's room with Chaos' new chemistry set and they were arguing over who got to light the Bunsen burner when they accidentally knocked the "NEW INSTANT UNIVERSE!" out of the box and onto the floor.

(read instructions carefully. some assembly required. very fragile. may explode if dropped. do not unpack near open flame, spark or antimatter. Batteries not included. your results may vary. not responsible for damages incurred by improper implementation of instructions. universe may be damaged by improper handling. )

They were probably grounded for 240,000 years.

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23528730)

They were probably grounded for 240,000 years.

God only said he "rested" on the seventh day because he was embarrassed to admit his parents grounded him.

Re:Oops (1)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | more than 6 years ago | (#23528846)

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Re:Oops (1)

Magdalene (263144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23663109)

remember to ask your doctor if new instant universe is for you.

Discontinue use of New Instant Universe if any of the following occurs:

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        * Slurred speech

        * Temporary blindness

        * Profuse sweating

        * Heart palpitations

* coma or instant death in some users

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Meta Comment (4, Insightful)

Number6.2 (71553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526412)

Come on, Editors. This is big Geek news. Surely this deserves an expanded box on the main page and not just a single freaking line.

(or is that just the way it looks with my preferences? I'll accept brick-bats if I've done something stupid. However...)

Re:Meta Comment (1)

boilednut (1245008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526610)

Come on, Editors. This is big Geek news. Surely this deserves an expanded box on the main page and not just a single freaking line.
I agree. The story also wasn't listed in the RSS feeds.

Re:Meta Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23531038)

(or is that just the way it looks with my preferences? I'll accept brick-bats if I've done something stupid. However...)

No, you're right. Default front page has only the headline, while "Idle: I Will Derive" got an expanded box. Definitely should have been the reverse.

This implies a large amount of water was present (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23526484)

It does? Wow. So it's decided. I guess there's no other possible explanation.

Old new (2, Informative)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526632)

You all know this occurred a whole year ago, right? Compare the pictures in the linked article to the pictures in the article linked to by this slahdot article [slashdot.org] from May 21, 2007...

It's because there's a paper on it now (2, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23529426)

The article itself links to an article from a year ago:

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Spirit_Rover_on_Mars_finds_water_made_'silica-rich_soil [wikinews.org] '

It's taken a year for the paper to be published in Science, along with more evidence of other silica outcrops.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522145222.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Original sources:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5879/1063 [sciencemag.org]
http://www.mars.asu.edu/news/news-silica.html [asu.edu]

What does this have to do with Apple? (-1, Offtopic)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23526646)

If it doesn't make money for Apple, it doesn't get on the front page. Nevertheless, this story is about as novel as discovering Mars is red.

Re:What does this have to do with Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23527454)

And doesnt link to networkworld and computerworld, which are frequent around here and sometimes without nofollow.

Slashdot, we link to computerworld, or whatever coondog, alphadog und roland submit

20x epected lifespan? Typical government waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23529814)

American engineers are supposed to cut costs and quality down to the minimum needed to cover the warranty period! Taxpayers should be furious that NASA wasted resources on over-engineering. NASA should get the private sector to design future robots such as these!

Why is this a minor story? (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23530118)

why is this consigned to a substory and yet a stupid song about some basic maths a full one.

By extrapolation... (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23530246)

...if we break enough rover parts, we'll discover the cure for cancer.
     

Very True and Very Cool (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535089)

Just link goatse like a normal troll. That vent clearly belongs to a Sony executive, and is thus filled with hot air with which said being can speak.
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