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Mars Rover Down? Spirit Stays Silent

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the sleep-well-good-sir dept.

Mars 91

astroengine writes "One year after NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit stopped communicating with Earth, mission managers have announced that they will give the stranded rover one more month to send a signal before they scale back the search. But things aren't looking good. In the words of JPL-based Mars rover driver Scott Maxwell, 'Spirit was so close to us, just a year ago. Snap your fingers, and she's a hundred million miles distant and we can't even prove she's alive.'"

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91 comments

Oblig (4, Funny)

ArAgost (853804) | about 3 years ago | (#35665464)

Obligatory xkcd reference: http://xkcd.com/695/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Oblig (4, Funny)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | about 3 years ago | (#35665766)

I see your xkcd and raise you an onion: http://www.theonion.com/articles/mars-rover-beginning-to-hate-mars,2072/ [theonion.com]

Don't anthropomorphize space vehicles... (2)

Life2Short (593815) | about 3 years ago | (#35665804)

They hate it when you do that.

Re:Don't anthropomorphize space vehicles... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 years ago | (#35667796)

If we go to Mars in 50 years and get greeted by Johnny 5...

Re:Oblig (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665790)

Wow. I actually misted up. Somewhere between the years of excitement and pride I have felt watching Spirit do her thing and that comic it became very clear what needs to be done:

NASA needs to retire the name Spirit and give it a very special meaning. I'm thinking "When anything on mission goes better than expected, when any situation comes out better than anyone could have ever hoped for - "That's the Spirit""

Re:Oblig (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | about 3 years ago | (#35666296)

NASA needs to retire the name Spirit and give it a very special meaning. I'm thinking "When anything on mission goes better than expected, when any situation comes out better than anyone could have ever hoped for - "That's the Spirit""

I agree, the rover program was very impressive. However I find the Voyager probes [wikipedia.org] to be the high bar for longevity. Of course I was much younger when they were launched and there seemed to be a lot more national pride in the space program.

Re:Oblig (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 3 years ago | (#35668268)

That was back when we put money into the programs, rather than having politicians look at NASA as "ooh look we can cut them and posture around."

Retardicans and Dumbicrats alike are responsible for the shoddy state of today's program - which was a bargain when we put appropriate money into it and did more good than any of their millions of pet projects.

Re:Oblig (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#35666420)

Obligatory xkcd reference: http://xkcd.com/695/ [xkcd.com]

Obligatory Ikea response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNlJIKzlCnU [youtube.com]

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667232)

Dammit. Send a rescue mission! *sobs uncontrollably*

Why wait a month or year? (0)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35665482)

Why this waiting for a month or year on earth calendars?

I know spirit has a direct link to earth. Not relaying thru an orbiter on Mars or whatever. So received SNR on BOTH sides is gonna vary by a wee bit as our planets orbit, from pretty darn close to very far away.

So, if the closest approach to mars is around jan 2010, march 2012, etc, why not try to communicate then, at highest signal levels, rather than fooling around now or next month? In fact it would seem that "right now" is pretty close to orbital opposition, so why they're even trying to communicate by transmitting thru the Sun is a mystery to me.

I'm guessing a likely failure mode is something bent or tilted the antenna.. It was stuck in the sand, after all.

I'm sure that:
1) They have their unknown reasons, which would be interesting to read.
2) Its just journalistic filler material anyway, so deciding to report it now, doesn't really mean anything, maybe this is a report from Jan of 2010?

Re:Why wait a month or year? (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 3 years ago | (#35665630)

Martian winter powered down the rover as it wasn't getting enough sunlight to run. They waited until the last few weeks because that's when peak sunlight hit the collectors again at its last position. They'll give it another month just in case it needs to warm up some more, but things aren't looking good.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35666288)

OK so they're optimizing for peak solar electrical power and peak outside air temp, which unfortunately coincides with (nearly) peak RF path loss. Makes sense if the problem is assumed to be temp related.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#35667612)

I think the rover is either programmed to hibernate for a certain period of time during low power situations or the controllers tell it to hibernate. During the winters the rovers don't get enough sun on some days to keep their heaters running much less attempting to communicate. So it just waits and tries to conserve energy.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (-1, Troll)

rednip (186217) | about 3 years ago | (#35665644)

I'm fairly certain that it means that staff assignments for this project would be cut after another month of silence. Is that an answer to your rant, or do you need to go on about taxes, black helicopters, or birth certificates?

Re:Why wait a month or year? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665656)

It's pretty simple. We are now moving into the Martian summer for the southern hemisphere. Spirit went quiet because of the Martian winter at her location, when it got colder and less sunlight per unit area was falling, thus, not enough energy to keep warm and keep operating. They transmitted/received off and on ever since losing communication, but the best chance was waiting until about this time because she should be warming up, getting more sun, and hopefully waking up as peak solar output at the site and for her orientation was reached (as the article mentions, this was on March 10th of this year). Unfortunately, nothing. They try all the backup plans (e.g., if the rover loses track of time it starts transmitting/receiving on specific time windows and communication modes), and if nothing happens after a practical amount of time, they give up, because from now on the amount of power would be in decline.

Closer/further from Earth is irrelevant because the best way to pick up a signal would probably be via the satellites in orbit of Mars as they pass over the site, and direction of the antenna is also irrelevant because they're using the non-directional antenna (i.e. low gain) for the initial communication. Regardless of Mars-Earth position, they're going to try when Spirit is most likely to have the power to communicate.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (2)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | about 3 years ago | (#35665744)

As I recall, they put Spirit into hibernation for the Martian winter. I suppose they left it off all this time to charge the batteries as much as they could. I assume the issue isn't signal strength- it's a lack of power in the rover to pick up the signal and respond to it.

Also, Wikipedia disagrees with you about the communications.

The rovers also use the low-gain antennas to communicate with spacecraft orbiting Mars, the Mars Odyssey and (before its failure) the Mars Global Surveyor. The orbiters relay data from and to Earth; most data to Earth is relayed through Odyssey. The orbiters are closer to the rovers than the antennas on Earth, and have a view of Earth for much longer than the rovers.

Source [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | about 3 years ago | (#35666262)

As I recall, they put Spirit into hibernation for the Martian winter.

Not quite. Spirit put itself into hibernation at the start of the martian winter with the lower light levels and dust buildup on her solar panels. She's yet to come out of this hibernation (and may never)

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35666336)

Ugh, wikipedia has at least two articles...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_rover#Design_and_construction [wikipedia.org]

"Communications depends on an omnidirectional low-gain antenna communicating at a low data rate and a steerable high-gain antenna, both in direct contact with Earth. A low gain antenna is also used to relay data to spacecraft orbiting Mars."

You know what would improve wikipedia, a third article on the same vehicle. How bout a MER-A article with a third separate writeup.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 3 years ago | (#35665776)

If I had to guess, I'd say the most simple answer is the correct one: extending a budget because Earth time is inconvienent would not pass through the higher ups, and also because by the time 2012 rolls around, it will be too late (its probably half buried in ice and sand).

Re:Why wait a month or year? (1)

gclef (96311) | about 3 years ago | (#35665778)

One word: money. There's a price to keeping the hardware + people ready & waiting. They probably don't have the money to wait much longer.

Re:Why wait a month or year? (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#35665858)

The most probable explaination is that Spirit died last Martian winter. The hope was that it was still alive but in deep hibernation mode and would eventually get enough power surplus to charge its batteries and reconnect with Earth. Now we're at peak power generation but Mars is still heating up a bit - just like in the northern hemisphere the summer solistice is in june but july/august are the warmest months. Normally it should have reconnected long before that, but if say the solar panels were partially damaged it could take this long for it to gather enough power. It's been a slim hope and it's getting even slimmer, pretty soon it's time to write off that possibility completely.

Howard did it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665496)

I guess Howard Wolowitz was trying to impress another chick.

Re:Howard did it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665680)

You beat me to it.

Good run (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | about 3 years ago | (#35665566)

They did only design the Mars Rovers with a six month operational life. That they lasted as long as they have was extremely lucky.

Re:Good run (5, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | about 3 years ago | (#35665598)

That's not luck, that's great engineering and great piloting on the part of NASA.

Re:Good run (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665718)

It's also a testament to the power of the Ubuntu operating system that ran all of Spirit's vital functions. I've spoken to a few insiders at NASA and they are all extremely positive about using Ubuntu in future missions, in fact the only complaint they had was that the Compiz compositor used up too much power (and was one of the first things to be disabeld should Spirit's batteries go low on power).

Re:Good run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35668468)

The rovers ran Ubuntu? You sir are sadly mistaken.

The rovers run a VxWorks embedded operating system on a radiation-hardened 20 MHz RAD6000 CPU with 128 MB of DRAM

Re:Good run (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665910)

Except the time when Wolowitz drove it into a ditch.

Re:Good run (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 3 years ago | (#35665772)

They did only design the Mars Rovers with a six month operational life. That they lasted as long as they have was extremely lucky.

Or it could be they just had a good PR campaign...6 month designed operational life, I though I heard it was only 3? What does that even mean from a design standpoint? You can guess, but nobody knows for sure except them and the marketing dept. I say good job there, cause unfortunately in today's world NASA needs good PR.

Re:Good run (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 3 years ago | (#35671784)

Or it could be they just had a good PR campaign...6 month designed operational life, I though I heard it was only 3? What does that even mean from a design standpoint? You can guess, but nobody knows for sure except them and the marketing dept. I say good job there, cause unfortunately in today's world NASA needs good PR.

Bullshit. Everyone paying attention knows.

The original 90 mission time frame was always about exactly one thing: The estimated amount of time before dust buildup on the solar panels would prevent them from receiving enough sunlight to power the rover.

What does that mean from a design standpoint? It means they had to decide whether to try to make some solar-panel-cleaning mechanism and pay the cost in money, weight, and chance of failure, or to just let the rovers die. They went with die.

Everything else on the rover was engineered as robustly as possible because it had to survive on another freaking planet with no possibility of maintenance, and the 90 day mission time frame was never intended to imply otherwise.

NASA was quite up-front about this from the beginning, and also quite up-front when their faulty assumption on dust build up turned out to be wrong and the hypothetical mission time frame was blown (get it? cus it was the Martian wind which cleaned the panels) wide open.

It's only people who don't know about this who assume the rovers were for some reason expected to break, yet survived anyway, who retroactively deduced this was some kind of deliberate marketing scheme to make NASA look good.

Here's a link with more info about the rover's lifespan, panels being cleaned by dust devils, and mechanical problems [google.com]

Here's a link from before the rovers were launched clearly discussing the significance of the 90 day mission time [freerepublic.com].

And here's one from cornell from not long after the mission was extended: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/rover/Rover.ops.to.html [cornell.edu]

We sure got... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665926)

..our money's worth out of Spirit. (tax dollars)

Even in this shitty economy, I have no problems with the govt spending my tax dollars on projects like the Spirit & Opportunity Mars mission.

Re:We sure got... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666358)

I'm not even American and I would also be happy to see my money going to Spirit and Opprtunity.

Re:Good run (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 3 years ago | (#35666096)

It was just the solar array they had concerns about. Everything else was supposed to last the ages they have, but engineers were just unsure about the apparatus providing power. They turned out to be terribly wrong in their expectations and the panels performed admirably for years.

Re:Good run (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#35667746)

It wasn't the arrays per se but the dust. NASA knew from previous missions that dust would coat the arrays over time and make them less efficient. Engineers looked at ways to remove the dust which is very clingy due to electrostatic forces. After factoring mission parameters, they decided it wasn't worth the cost. Now cost meant to them more than money. Remember there are weight and space limitations. To add a system to remove dust, they might have had to remove an instrument or two and there was no guarantee of success. In the end, engineers decided the best option was to make the panels bigger but foldable. What NASA/JPL didn't know that periodic dust storms that would coat the rovers also had a chance to remove dust as well.

Re:Good run (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 3 years ago | (#35666556)

I think that the rovers have been exceeding the expectations with a good margin. A few design flaws may have been discovered - like the stuck wheel - but they did provide a lot more data than the mission plans expected.

The experience gained from this mission can be used for upcoming missions. Even if those missions aren't going to Mars they will benefit from this.

Re:Good run (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 3 years ago | (#35667022)

To be clear, it was a not a 3 month operational life. It was a 3-month primary mission.

Primary mission means that the team is in charge of ensuring the success of that to a very high probability. Everyone expects extended missions at this point, and include fuel in the budget (for orbiters, doesn't apply to rovers) for a very long extended missions. However, more risk is allowed in extended mission, allowing reduced costs. I'm currently working the next Mars orbiter, and while our primary mission goes for 1 year, we're planning out the 6 year extended mission as well, and will probably keep flying the thing until it dies.

This isn't to diminish the good work those people did, nor the good luck of having dust cyclones clean the lifetime limiting dust on the solar panels, but the 'operational life' is a bit of a misnomer.

A pity it had to be Spirit , not Opportunity (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 3 years ago | (#35665600)

Since from a visual point of view spirit was in a far more interesting area with hills and varied lanscape. Opportunity is in the middle of a vast desert with just the odd crater to break things up.

Re:A pity it had to be Spirit , not Opportunity (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#35666118)

That "vast desert" is, in case you forgot, on Mars. That's still a thousand times more interesting than any surface feature on Earth. Maybe the novelty will wear off once we start colonizing, but until then, it's a desert on a different freaking planet, making it well worth studying.

Re:A pity it had to be Spirit , not Opportunity (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 3 years ago | (#35667460)

"That's still a thousand times more interesting than any surface feature on Earth."

Speak for yourself.

Re:A pity it had to be Spirit , not Opportunity (2)

MSesow (1256108) | about 3 years ago | (#35667486)

Although I don't disagree with you that having a rover anywhere on Mars is great, with so much to see, I must contest the idea that it is more interesting than any surface feature on Earth - Mars may be less understood, but I can go out into a field next to my apartment and entertain myself for an hour or two just by looking at the world. Bugs or plants I have never seen or that are odd in some way, the weather around me, things other people might be doing, etc. They are just all somewhat less remarkable when you get used to them and forget how amazing of a place Earth really is. Children are really good at it; I think most people I have met begin getting too used to the world around age 12 or 13. Plenty of people try to stay captivated, but it is hard when there are so many things like work, bills and chores around the house that keep you busy (and I definitely have this problem, too). I love that space exploration can keep this sense of wonder alive in people.

Re:A pity it had to be Spirit , not Opportunity (5, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#35667482)

We pity malfunctioning Spirit, pity it's not Opportunity. NO.

Goddamnit, Spirit was a row of failures from day one, an epic struggle but a struggle nevertheless.

Meanwhile, Opportunity analyzed some nearby craters, climbed a hill, found one HUGE crater and began moving there.

It will reach it around 2015.

Yep, NASA made plans of some decade long trip for it, a couple years ago. Not "will it respond in next month?" style hope, but "Will it last 10 years more?" hope. Totally awesome and incredible.

Damn you, nothing Spirit was close to compares to the crater Opportunity tries to reach.

Spirit is doing just fine! (1, Interesting)

bye (87770) | about 3 years ago | (#35665716)

Spirit is doing just fine on Sol 792. Just four days ago one of the rover drivers blogged this:

"The good news is, we have data from Spirit at last! And a lot of it, too -- a whopping 110 Mbits!" [blogspot.com]

Here are some pictures Spirit has taken recently. [nasa.gov]

Is this sloppy Slashdot reporting, or an early April's Fool joke?

Re:Spirit is doing just fine! (2)

RasputinAXP (12807) | about 3 years ago | (#35665856)

Did you miss the title of the blog? "five years delayed." The blog posts are 2011, -5, meaning they're from 2006.

Actual report pertaining to first link from Sol 792: http://marsrover.nasa.gov/mission/status_spiritAll_2006.html#sol790 [nasa.gov]

Re:Spirit is doing just fine! (2)

dsanfte (443781) | about 3 years ago | (#35666728)

What the fuck? Seriously. Why have a blog if it's 5 years delayed?

Re:Spirit is doing just fine! (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#35667680)

Finite speed of light?

Of course, I don't think NASA is blogging from Alpha Centauri or Barnard's Star. But it might explain a lot of things.

Re:Spirit is doing just fine! (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 3 years ago | (#35668484)

What the fuck? Seriously. Why have a blog if it's 5 years delayed?

It's being written by committee.

Search party offer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35665724)

I'd be happy to volunteer my ex-wife to be launched to Mars to look for the missing rover. I understand and fully accept the risks of the mission.

We pursue that which retreats from us (1)

steak (145650) | about 3 years ago | (#35666280)

clearly spirit has just watched the tao of steve one too many times.

lasted 15x its nominal 90-day design life (1, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | about 3 years ago | (#35666494)

NASA got its money's worth for a change

Re:lasted 15x its nominal 90-day design life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35669804)

In other news: Subcontractor sales department sacked for selling the rovers too cheaply. Engineering department under suspicion of using too high safety margins at the cost of ... costs. "Irresponsible, and clearly lousy team players", tycoon comments on the engineers' engineering spree

Why is good engineering such headline news these days?.
 

Um, someone disagrees... (0)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | about 3 years ago | (#35666510)

This guy [blogspot.com] would seem to disagree. They were planning drives for Spirit just 4 days ago...

Re:Um, someone disagrees... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#35666858)

From what I read, It looks like it happened very suddenly and there are signs Q was involved.

Admittedly I haven't read past the summary.

Focus on the positive... (2)

LordStormes (1749242) | about 3 years ago | (#35666692)

We designed Spirit and Opportunity to last 90 days each. We've got one probably dead at just over 7 full years, and another fully healthy one after that same time. They were relatively cheap, too. These damn things WORK. NASA needs to mass-produce about 100 more of these, and get them to every solid surface in this solar system. If you know something's technologically sound, use it everywhere you can. Send them to all Saturn/Jupiter's solid moons, Mercury, Pluto, any asteroids who come near, the moon, Arkansas... any place where we might go looking for intelligent life.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 3 years ago | (#35667106)

Well, they probably wouldn't do well on rocks without atmospheres. They're not really designed for the extreme temp changes you'd get without an atmosphere or the extreme cold you'd get in the outer Solar System.

That said, we probably should try and launch a few more of them. Except to Europa, of course. Attempt no landings there.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | about 3 years ago | (#35667354)

You could make minor mods to them depending on where you're sending them. Going to Hoth? Wrap it in some insulation. Tattooine? Slap a water-cooling kit like you'd find in a PC on it, or some refrigerator coils. Really, places with atmosphere is all we really ought to care about - can't be any life anywhere else - unless you're just looking for a good place to set up a robotic mining colony to get some unobtanium.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

eriqk (1902450) | about 3 years ago | (#35682458)

Tattooine? Slap a water-cooling kit like you'd find in a PC on it, or some refrigerator coils.

Do not send it to Tattione. It will be sabotaged by an R2 unit.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#35671692)

NASA needs to mass-produce about 100 more of these, and get them to every solid surface in this solar system.

Well, they'd never reach 99% of the solid surfaces in the Solar system intact - they'd crash because there was either no atmosphere or insufficient atmosphere for their parachutes to function. If you did modify them to not require parachutes, they'd still fail within seconds of landing as they froze or boiled to death in temperatures well outside those they're designed to handle. So in order for your scheme to work, they *can't* be mass produced.
 
And I haven't even mentioned the lack of the communications infrastructure (Mars orbiters) they rely on and their inability to communicate with Earth (and Earth with them) much beyond Mars orbit. Nor have I mentioned the lack of power because of the drop in insolation once you get to Jupiter - let alone beyond....
 
Etc... etc...
 

If you know something's technologically sound, use it everywhere you can.

They pretty much *are* being used everywhere they can be. The rovers (and their associated landing systems) are pretty specialized pieces of equipment designed to reach and survive on flat, low altitude, low latitude sites on Mars.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | about 3 years ago | (#35671906)

1. Again, modify the "base model" slightly for various environments. Add insulation, cooling, shock absorbers, bigger treads, etc. as needed. Very minor customizations that are roughly the equivalent of getting your Scion xB with a sunroof or not.

2. Develop a simple delivery vehicle that includes three pieces: the rover itself, a reverse-thrust delivery pod (which provides a heat shield for atmospheric planets, and reverse-thrusters to slow it to a soft landing on non-atmospheric ones), and a module that separates and stays in orbit, which can then be used to relay signals back to Earth. The pod lands, cracks open like a flower bud, and the rover just rolls down the ramp created by the sides of the pod and into the soil. Swap the thrusters for parachutes, and that's pretty much exactly what they used to deploy Spirit and Opportunity.

3. I don't know, I saw some pictures of Mercury [slashdot.org] a few minutes ago that looked awfully Mars-like. Bet the MESSENGER crew would love to be able to drop Spirit or Opportunity's twin on some of those craters right about now.

Re:Focus on the positive... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#35673270)

Again, modify the "base model" slightly for various environments. Add insulation, cooling, shock absorbers, bigger treads, etc. as needed. Very minor customizations that are roughly the equivalent of getting your Scion xB with a sunroof or not.

No. Very *major* customizations, the equivalent of which there isn't in ordering a car from the dealer.
 

Develop a simple delivery vehicle that includes three pieces: the rover itself, a reverse-thrust delivery pod (which provides a heat shield for atmospheric planets, and reverse-thrusters to slow it to a soft landing on non-atmospheric ones), and a module that separates and stays in orbit, which can then be used to relay signals back to Earth.

Won't work. You need vastly different levels of thrust depending on the body being landed on and vastly different heat shields depending on the atmosphere you're going through. (Not to mention that landing under rocket power alone takes a great deal of fuel - your "simple" system is going to be complex, large, heavy, and expensive.)

Time span (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | about 3 years ago | (#35666798)

The obvious question, "How long has it been since it landed?" wasn't answered by TFA. It originally landed January 4, 2004 and has been doing research for nearly 7 and a quarter years.

Meet the remarkable woman who "drives" the rover (1)

yuna49 (905461) | about 3 years ago | (#35666920)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/profile-vandi-verma.html [pbs.org]

Pretty much a geek dreamboat; too bad she's married (and it wasn't even arranged).

Re:Meet the remarkable woman who "drives" the rove (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#35667002)

Driving Spirit for 5 years before getting stuck. Can I have her give my wife lessons?

Re:Meet the remarkable woman who "drives" the rove (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 3 years ago | (#35669080)

Pretty much a geek dreamboat

Alien-looking fingers and a chin that would make Superman jealous. Yeah, I guess in a very technical sense you're completely right ...

Re:Meet the remarkable woman who "drives" the rove (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | about 3 years ago | (#35671880)

She doesn't look like Pamela Anderson, so that makes it OK to slag her, right?

Sucks to be you!

Re:Meet the remarkable woman who "drives" the rove (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 3 years ago | (#35672080)

She doesn't look like Pamela Anderson, so that makes it OK to slag her, right?

She look-a-like-a-man!

Sucks to be you!

Because I refuse to play the "is-it-a-tranny?" game? No, I'm pretty happy here. But thanks for your concern!

cant fake he data now that funding is gone (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | about 3 years ago | (#35667368)

ya feels like the moon landing, i totally believe everything the us govt tells me....haha, NASA is even worse.

built to last 90 days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35668252)

So this was built to last 90 days. ... And instead it ran for years. Like someone said, 15 times it expected lifespan. 1350 days is more than 3 1/2 years. One one hand, NASA is proud of its engineering, giving 15 times as much value as expected. Bean counters are set to complain however: next time they want it to die at 90 days, and cost 15 times less. Take that, space patrol. Oh, btw, as far as the rover goes, I think the Martians got it.

Sentient and forming superior robot race on mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35669288)

March 30 2011 Mars rover founds skynet on mars, terminator wars imminent

somebody missing here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35670828)

I guess MER frontman Steve Squyres [wikipedia.org] is too grief strickened to gravitate to any of the television cameras that were the hallmarks of geek television viewing in those heady months of 2004.

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