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Mars Rover Begins "Whole New Mission"

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the back-to-the-beginning dept.

Mars 93

sighted writes "NASA reports that the seemingly-unstoppable robotic geologist Opportunity is finding things at Endeavour crater that it has never seen before, adding new life to a mission that has already been epic. Observations 'suggest that rock exposures on Endeavour's rim date from early in Martian history and include clay minerals that form in less-acidic wet conditions, possibly more favorable for life.' In a teleconference today, one mission scientist compared this new phase of exploration to a 'whole new mission.'"

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1st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281152)

finally!

Still amazed... (2)

thestudio_bob (894258) | about 3 years ago | (#37281166)

I'm still thoroughly amazed at what this little machine has accomplished. The engineers deserve a big kudos as well.

Re:Still amazed... (3, Funny)

sadness203 (1539377) | about 3 years ago | (#37281182)

Imagine what the other one would have achieved if there was a chiropractor up there to fix all the subluxation it suffered from radiation poisoning. We need more chiropractor in space!

Re:Still amazed... (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37281208)

"We need more chiropractor in space!"
I could agree more.
In fact, put all those lying bastards there.

Re:Still amazed... (2)

starless (60879) | about 3 years ago | (#37281272)

Maybe you really mean you *couldn't* agree more...

Re:Still amazed... (2, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | about 3 years ago | (#37281450)

i could care less about forming a sentence.

Re:Still amazed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282504)

your mother earth could care less about my red rocket. yet, she cares a fuck ton!

Re:Still amazed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283436)

you could now, couldn't you?

Re:Still amazed... (4, Funny)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | about 3 years ago | (#37281728)

well, you know what they say...

2 stones in the hand are worth more than killing the bird in the bush with all their eggs in a basket....... or something, give me a break, this isn't rocket surgery!

Re:Still amazed... (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 3 years ago | (#37283192)

well, you know what they say...

2 stones in the hand are worth more than killing the bird in the bush with all their eggs in a basket....... or something, give me a break, this isn't rocket surgery!

... FUCK! ASS! [youtube.com]

Re:Still amazed... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281996)

Well, technically he did agree more. He wants all chiropractors in space.

Re:Still amazed... (1)

Nationless (2123580) | about 3 years ago | (#37281492)

If by "as well" you mean: Entirely.

Do you give the cars that win races kudos or rather the driver and people who built said car?

Re:Still amazed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281550)

I would be interested in knowing the story of the engineering. When you consider a bonus of years of use from a device designed with a 90-day warranty, you'd really like to meet the folks who put the device together.

Re:Still amazed... (3, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 3 years ago | (#37281764)

I would be interested in knowing the story of the engineering. When you consider a bonus of years of use from a device designed with a 90-day warranty, you'd really like to meet the folks who put the device together.

Yes, clearly they need to be fired immediately. I mean, creating a product that outlives its warranty by more than 3 months is ridiculous. Frankly it should be a crime and god willing soon will be.

Estimations. (5, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#37282092)

Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

Re:Estimations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284604)

Kirk: Do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?
Scott: How else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?

Re:Still amazed... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 3 years ago | (#37285734)

They woudl deserve an even bigger cudos, if they could send the next one, with enough materials to fix the one that has gotten stranded, and then be back up to a full 3 rovers instead of just 2 with 1 down...

Re:Still amazed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37286310)

Sadly, due to budget cuts, many of the engineers who did this have received the most excellent opportunity to seek new challenges with a new employer. Welcome to the aerospace industry: "labor is a fungible commodity" No spare cash to keep people around when there's no work to do.

This Is How It Happened (0, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#37281174)

Mars Rover Scientist #1: My god, I think those little blobs in the crater wall are life. We need to get closer.

Mars Rover:

Mars Rover Scientist #2: Oh no, it's died. We've got to send another rover to that location as soon as possible. Make sure we've got the budget!

TV Announcer: And now, in other news, President Obama has announced we're in the midst of another recession, therefore we must go fight more foreign wars and increase the corn ethanol subsidy by 10000%. NASA's budget has been reduced to one guy in a tin can at the bottom of a swimming pool in San Fransisco.

Re:This Is How It Happened (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37281232)

Wow, do you blame Obama when your dick doesn't work as well? I would imagine that's a lot of blame.

Ignoring that he prevent us from putting boot on the ground, and is continuing withdrawal effort.

Frankly, I like having cheap dependable food supply, so lets keep the corm subsidies, m'kay?

And FYI: Its not Obama cutting NASA. He would like more money for NASA; something he ahs made clear.

The republican mantra of blame Obama, stop him from doing anything as really worked on you, hasn't it? The hold up even normal trivial things for months, and the Obama gets the blame.

Re:This Is How It Happened (2)

bragr (1612015) | about 3 years ago | (#37281284)

You are both trolls.

Re:This Is How It Happened (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#37281306)

Ah yes, politics, where people go to lose their sense of humor.

It was a joke, you idiot.

Re:This Is How It Happened (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37281522)

It was a joke, you idiot.

You could have told it a little better, though.

For example:
"Hey, the Mars Rover "Opportunity" is no big deal. Hell, if it had been private industry that had been in charge of the project it would have been...um...it would have, uh...see, 'cause the government is...um...

Oh, shit. Never mind. If it had been a private industry project it never would have happened. Not without enormous government subsidies, costing three times what NASA paid and certainly not without the corporation getting a 200-year lease on all mineral rights, and a trademark on the words, "Mars", "Martian", "Rover", "Opportunity", "Outer Space" and naming rights for the Red Planet itself."

I'm sorry, the joke didn't turn out as funny as I had hoped. In fact, it's downright depressing.

New Jobs for Opportunity Engineers (2)

poena.dare (306891) | about 3 years ago | (#37281752)

Dammit. Somebody find the engineers that built Opportunity AND HAVE THEM MAKE AMERICAN CARS.

"I don't care if it looks funny with the solar panels extended. I get a 20 year warranty, 250 miles to the gallon, and it does 100kph going up the ol' Tharsis trail."

Re:New Jobs for Opportunity Engineers (1)

sodul (833177) | about 3 years ago | (#37281992)

more like 10kpy ?

Re:New Jobs for Opportunity Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283088)

Or set them to work on our economy.

Re:This Is How It Happened (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | about 3 years ago | (#37281800)

yeah, that's not funny at all :(

Re:This Is How It Happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282018)

Nixon subsidized corn growing. Well actually changed the subsidies from grow less corn to grow more corn. Before slaughter cows are fed so much corn for the last few months of their lives that even if we didn't slaughter them, they would soon die.

Re:This Is How It Happened (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 3 years ago | (#37283160)

Frankly, I like having cheap dependable food supply, so lets keep the corm subsidies, m'kay?

The subsidies are paid for turning corn into ethanol-- fuel, but not for humans. Crappy fuel, at that. Because of the push for corn ethanol, we have experienced a shortage of corn. The worst of it is, that other abundant agricultural products are far more efficient sources than corn, and aren't relied upon as heavily in this country. So if you're keen on having a cheap, dependable food supply, then corn ethanol subsidies are something you should be firmly against.

For what it's worth, while Obama's competency as President has turned out to be against our favor, the blame cannot be rested solely on his shoulders. Not so long as we have a government controlled by two political parties that seem to be incapable of producing candidates for office with the ability to come to sensible conclusions.The combined and practically indistinguishable follies of the Bush and Obama administrations are only one manifestation of a much greater, systemic problem.

XKCD Spirit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281218)

http://xkcd.com/695/

Re:XKCD Spirit (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 3 years ago | (#37281478)

makes me baaawwwww

Re:XKCD Spirit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281918)

Xkcd stopped being fresh several years before someone linked to this for the 157000th time on slashdot. And it was never funny or original before that.

u mad? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282200)

u mad?

GTFO, bitch.

Re:XKCD Spirit (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37282716)

wow there is a sad 30+ year old dream of AI in there.

Just gotta say (5, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | about 3 years ago | (#37281224)

I wish that everyone who complained about how much money NASA "wastes" remembers just how many wildly successful programs like this one that it's accomplished. They've extended this mission something like half a dozen times. It's been on Mars for eight freaking years and it's still going!

Re:Just gotta say (0, Troll)

Staale Nordlie (943189) | about 3 years ago | (#37281984)

I don't think the rovers lasting far beyond the "planned" 90 sols is entirely flattering for NASA as an organization. It means that they've used completely unrealistic estimates, be it due to incompetence or general ass-covering. When Opportunity finally breaks down it may well be because someone knowingly put in a component with a relatively short lifespan even though a better alternative would only have been marginally heavier or more expensive.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | about 3 years ago | (#37282292)

Who hurt you? :'-(

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282298)

Your second and third sentences seem to contradict each other. What the hell are you saying?

If you're trying to say what I think you're trying to say, they you're wrong. Would you complain if a car you bought, marketed to last 10 years, actually lasted 30? Would you rail about how you were cheated on the original purchase price because the engineers used more reliable and (only presumably) more expensive components? No, you wouldn't.

In fact, the wind storms that periodically clean off the solar panels were much more reliable and effective than anyone could have planned for. Stop hating on people who are pioneering space exploration.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

Staale Nordlie (943189) | about 3 years ago | (#37282616)

What is it you don't understand? There is no contradiction, seeming or otherwise.

Planning for a 90 sol mission when the rovers clearly have the potential to last far longer is bound to lead to suboptimal choices. It boggles the mind that anyone can fail to understand that.

As for the weather on Mars, it is, in fact, pure bullshit that NASA had no way to estimate its effects.

Oh, and I'm not "hating" on anyone. But I guess that's what any hint of criticism looks like to a raving fanboy. Calm down.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | about 3 years ago | (#37283598)

The 90 days was a guestimate based on presumed Martian conditions. They for instance didn't expect the martian winds to be so effective at sweeping the solar panels clean.

When you're hurling a machine to another planet you kind of have to make assumptions about the conditions there and the Mars Rover was built to last at least 90 days in those conditions. Turns out the conditions are actually a lot better then they assumed so it's still working.

It's not a matter of under estimating it's lifetime for ass covering or gross incompetence, it's solid science.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 3 years ago | (#37284278)

Planning for a 90 sol mission when the rovers clearly have the potential to last far longer is bound to lead to suboptimal choices.

They didn't "build the components to only last 90 days"... they built them as sturdily as they could given weight restraints, then estimated that under the most extreme conditions, they would only last 90 days. The conditions have been considerably better than "the worst possible", so the components have lasted much longer.

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282768)

I saw no hating on space pioneers in GP's post, rather hating on the haters of space pioneers.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37282340)

Of course it could also be that we weren't sure exactly what to expect (or we wouldn't need probes at all), so they made damned sure they were up to the task. Then, having survived the planned mission, they are making sure to get every last penny's worth out of them.

But that wouldn't give you the opportunity to spew impotent rage and venom from your armchair...

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283568)

I don't think that post is entirely flattering for you as a person. It means you completely don't understand statistics. :)

Estimates are based on expected values and confidence intervals. You can't say "it will last this long". Not in a hostile environment after a dangerous journey with a sample size of one.

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37286010)

So what you're saying is that NASA is damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they announced that the "planned" mission was to last 180 sols and breaks down before that, you'd just complain about their incompetence.

So really, based on not knowing ANYTHING about the design process or requirements or the equipment used, you're just going to pass judgement on the engineers and program... just because the rover lasted longer than planned? You must really be fun to be around.

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282056)

I wish you should learn to understand what other people are saying. The problem is not so much the amount, as the ratio of money spent on successful projects like this vs. the money blown on PR and BS. It seems the ratio is really microscopic, and it should have been astronomical.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 3 years ago | (#37293090)

Learn to understand? Everyone says something different, and when someone says something falsifiable, it's almost always easily debunked. For example, this is the first time I've heard your specific complaint. And I find it far from compelling. First of all, you have no idea the range of technological advances that everyday society uses that NASA is responsible for. Of course I'm sure your "acceptable ratio" is either unrealistic or nonexistent and you wouldn't be satisfied even if you knew about them. Secondly, the amount of money spent on NASA is peanuts compared to what we spend on other things such as our senseless wars or bailing out the banks. The bank bailout is bigger than everything that's been spent on NASA *ever*! Did you realize that? So I think that your perspective is incredibly skewed.

Re:Just gotta say (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37282776)

Okay... what was our return other than stuffing our databases full of data on a planet we cant get to? Great we are learning about mars, knowing is half the battle, but son this is America, and we are a Free! and Capitalist society! It aint worth a fuck unless I make a buck, and a couple crappy fuzzy pictures that an Amstrad could fake is not cutting it.

Shit in one hand wish in the other, see which fills up faster. Problem is WE HAVE A HANDFUL OF SHIT! Mars is not going to fix that, and neither is pork going to states for producing unwanted widgets for a TV dream factory.

NASA was great (when my dad was a teen), that time has passed, get with the program.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | about 3 years ago | (#37283606)

Who pissed in your coffee this morning? The communists?

Re:Just gotta say (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37288030)

I would just love to see some of these important things that we are spending billions of dollars on each year. thats all, shit Tang cant be it...

Re:Just gotta say (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 3 years ago | (#37292998)

That you can only come up with Tang on your own shows that either you're too cynical or too lazy. You couldn't even think of cordless power drills? The GPS system? Communication satellites?

www.google.com - anyone can do it! You'll find lots of technologies and advancements we use every day that came from NASA. I never knew that we also have NASA to thank for today's water filters and the first smoke detectors.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37293606)

yes NASA invented the combination of battery + motor, GPS was military, communications satellites were almost all funded by the private sector

Re:Just gotta say (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37283600)

I wish that everyone who complained about how much money NASA "wastes"

We don't complain about the money they invest in things like this, we complain about the money they waste on (eg.) manned space stations.

Re:Just gotta say (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 3 years ago | (#37293046)

That's not true, as evidenced by every other anti-NASA comment. Just from this thread alone:

Opportunity was a boondoggle - http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2408986&cid=37281984 [slashdot.org]

Too much money wasted overall compared to whatever results this person finds worthwhile - http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2408986&cid=37282056 [slashdot.org]

Martian soil is a handful of shit, or maybe NASA is too socialistic? - http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2408986&cid=37282776 [slashdot.org]

NASA doesn't produce any technology that's useful to everyday society - http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2408986&cid=37288030 [slashdot.org]

Apparently you need to have a little pow-wow with your fellow NASA-haters.

still working because (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281226)

its still working cause its in a martian vr lab being fed fake data . MEANWHILE the invasion fleet nears completion .......

Re:still working because (1)

tokul (682258) | about 3 years ago | (#37283758)

its still working cause its in a martian vr lab

This lab [youtube.com] ?

So what does this mean? (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37281250)

Unfortunately Opportunity is not well-equipped for actually checking for life and so even if it does encounter life (which is unlikely) we'd have at best circumstantial evidence for it. The Viking tests of Martian soil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_biological_experiments [wikipedia.org] didn't seem to give any signs of life but they did result in chemistry which we still don't fully understand what was happening. This in general makes further tests for life to be difficult since we don't fully understand the non-organic behavior (although one thing that Viking found was a lot less organic material than was expected. That's still not fully understood.).

The follow-up to Opportunity is going to be the Curiosity rover. Curiosity is about the size of a large car and will have a lot of different equipment. That should be launched by the end of this year. If Curiosity lands successfully (it is much larger than other things we've tried to land on Mars before and there's some new tech in the landing method) it will blow Opportunity and Spirit away in terms of the number of experiments it can do and a lot of other things. For example, Curiosity can simply move a lot faster than any other rover we have put on Mars. This means that when it is in a less interesting spot it will be able to go somewhere more interesting in days or hours rather than in weeks or months.

Re:So what does this mean? (2)

wronkiew (529338) | about 3 years ago | (#37281394)

I really hope for the best, but that should read "In the unlikely event that Curiosity lands successfully ...". Have you seen the concept videos? http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/movies/msl20110722/MSLanimation20110721-640.mov [nasa.gov]

Re:So what does this mean? (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | about 3 years ago | (#37284410)

I watched it and , , I mean what could go wrong?

Re:So what does this mean? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 3 years ago | (#37284544)

That's not entirely unlike Mars 3*, Viking, or Phoenix landing sequences; and they made it (*through the landing). The only major difference being "just" in using the rover itself as the landing gear of sorts, and decoupling the landing rocket from it; to save mass and minimise loads, I guess.

Re:So what does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37286906)

Unlikely? You know these are actually rocket scientists that come up with this shit right?

Re:So what does this mean? (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 3 years ago | (#37281722)

I was part of Viking, and it is not correct to say that "Viking tests of Martian soil didn't seem to give any signs of life." The protocols and expected results were published before the mission, and all 6 (3 tests each on 2 spacecraft) passed at the one bit level (i.e., some of the details were not what was expected, but at the "we do X and Y happens" level, they all passed). What didn't "pass" was the mass spectrometer, which didn't reveal any organics.

Funny thing was, the mass spec was listed as one of the tests of life before the mission.

Now, they think that perchlorates may have removed all of the organics when the samples were heated for the mass spec. Oh well.

Re:So what does this mean? (3, Interesting)

Ga_101 (755815) | about 3 years ago | (#37281780)

Which makes it all the greater same that the Beagle 2 did not land. We need a robotic chemist up there.
While the two NASA rovers have done great work, they are very specialised as robotic geologists. This is great if you wanted pretty pictures of rocks, but does leave you stuffed if you want hard data on potential organic molecules.
For it's many, many flaws, the Beagle 2 did manage to pack in a lot of science (indeed it would have provided much more interesting results IMHO) into a very small space on a shoe string. I can't help but think that if a little of the now obvious considerable redundancy (two rovers for crynout loud) built into the NASA mission had been given up for more science there would not be such a the need to send a rover the size of a car.

Re:So what does this mean? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 3 years ago | (#37281946)

I would say we need a human chemist up there, but that is another argument.

And, the usual typo

Funny thing was, the mass spec was not listed as one of the tests of life before the mission.

Re:So what does this mean? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 3 years ago | (#37284620)

Don't keep you hopes too high, even if we would send humans - out of the twelve people we sent to the Moon, only one was a geologist, during the very last mission; sad.

Plus a sample return mission might just give the answers... (and ExoMars is supposed to cache samples; and, heck, scientific benefits from the Apollo were demonstrably roughly comparable to those from unmanned probes of the time)

Re:So what does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281954)

You might save 20%, maximum, going from twin rovers to a single rover. Most of the cost is R&D, not actual production or launch costs, and even production costs are very non-linear in small quantities. There might be argument over the size of solar array, but we didn't know we could expect any atmospheric cleaning at all, so I don't think that would have been reasonable to trade off at the time.

In fact, the initial proposal was for about a half-dozen rovers, and it was cut back to one (which made no sense, really, but that's how budgets work...) for quite a while. (The team stretched that budget as thin as possible, so they could get multiple copies of each component ("for testing") in case funding showed up later to launch a second one.) It was more or less luck when a second launch slot opened up and they were offered the chance to send a second rover, if they could have it ready in time.

Re:So what does this mean? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 3 years ago | (#37281978)

The Beagle 2 was the Robert Falcon Scott of planetary missions. Gallant, but weak on the implementation.

If I were running the NASA Mars program, we would have launched 2 more MERs every launch window or every other launch window and we would have 10 or so running around by now. Mars is a big planet, and there are lots of places to do useful science.

Re:So what does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282152)

The follow-up to Opportunity is going to be the Curiosity rover. Curiosity is about the size of a large car and will have a lot of different equipment.

Sadly, Curiosity's future is in jeopardy after a fatal accident during testing. It ran over the company mascot, a cat.

Next up... (3, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | about 3 years ago | (#37281268)

...NASA suddenly announces they're entering the automobile business to maintain cash flow for their space exploration.

Hell, I'd love a car that goes 8 years without maintenance. What are the lease terms on a $400M dollar vehicle anyways?

Re:Next up... (2)

PopeScott (1343031) | about 3 years ago | (#37281330)

Hey, I love the Mars rovers, but if your car had a top speed of "The rovers have a top speed on flat hard ground of 50 mm/s (2 in/s). The average speed is 10 mm/s, because its hazard avoidance software causes it to stop every 10 seconds for 20 seconds to observe and understand the terrain into which it has driven." it would last for 8 yrs w/o maintenance as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover [wikipedia.org]

Re:Next up... (1)

mikael (484) | about 3 years ago | (#37288838)

Average speed in downtown is 5 miles/hour. I'd say that's a fair match.

Re:Next up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281410)

There's been LOTS of maintenance, such as driving backwards to even out the lubrication and the wear on the wheels. Not sure that's the kind of "required maintenance" schedule that is going to be easy to follow with an ordinary car :-)

Re:Next up... (2)

epine (68316) | about 3 years ago | (#37281624)

Hell, I'd love a car that goes 8 years without maintenance.

Ah yes, but you forgot about the 10/365.25/86400 OnStar support contract with guaranteed 1e4 response from the OFD (original fine designer) if the PhD answering on the first ring doesn't buzzer out a fix faster than God on Jeopardy [photobucket.com] .

Or maybe you're entitled to the freebie after gifting the JPL enough to found an entirely new campus.

EPIC! Late-breaking news from NASA! (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#37281316)

~Translation of Intercepted Broadcast from Blue Planet~
~CLASSIFIED: FOR COUNCIL EYESTALKS ONLY~
~Begin Translation~

EPIC! NASA reports that the seemingly-unstoppable robotic geologist Opportunity is finding things at Endeavour crater that it has never seen before, adding new life to a mission that has already been epic.

L'avery, Executive for the Program, announced thus:

"This is like having a brand-new beachhead for our battle-hardened juggernaut of steel; a remarkable bonus that comes from being able to rove with imputiny and utterly dominate the Martian surface."

Another Member of the Program was quoted as saying "This is different from any rock ever seen on Mars", describing the presence of numerous sac-like pockets of zinc and bromine mineralization associated with less-acidic and potentially gelatinous conditions.

When a project manager reminded the NASA delegation that after having exceeded its design lifetime by a factor of 30, and suggested that "at any time, we could lose a critical component on an essential rover system, and the mission would be over", L'avery had the project manager's testicles crushed and used as robotic wheel lubricant.

~End Translation of Intercepted Broadcast~
~For Victory, For Mars, For K'Breel~

Re:EPIC! Late-breaking news from NASA! (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37281388)

K'Breel seems to be using this invasion to get more and more power. In the early versions K'Breel was just the chief of the council. Then he started punishing Martian reporters who disagreed with his assessment of the danger. Now he's achieved such power and control that his name is directly put in the sign-off propaganda chant at the end. It seems that Martians really are just like Earthlings.

Re:EPIC! Late-breaking news from NASA! (2)

Mspangler (770054) | about 3 years ago | (#37282196)

I look forward to seeing "The collected and annotated sayings of K'Breel" in the bookstore someday. I hope there is an Irulan clone up there taking notes.

Re:EPIC! Late-breaking news from NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37285276)

Thank you for these, over the years. I know that when there's Mars news on Slashdot, I'll get at least one laugh that day.

XKCD (1)

Staale Nordlie (943189) | about 3 years ago | (#37281854)

Keep on struggling Opportunity. We'll bring you home soon. We promise. Just a little longer.

http://xkcd.com/695/ [xkcd.com] (Spirit rover)

Re:XKCD (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37282830)

gee that totally wasn't the fourth post in the thread!

Re:XKCD (1)

Staale Nordlie (943189) | about 3 years ago | (#37282968)

Yes, yes, I noticed. :(

(I looked for it before posting, I swear, but clearly I didn't look hard enough or I had the wrong view settings.)

Here's an idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37281962)

Maybe they can have it start building a mosque so muslims will feel more welcome on Mars.

mod 0P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282374)

Prima donnas, and or make 7oud noises OpenBSD lEader Theo

Spirit? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 3 years ago | (#37282522)

Maybe they can send it over to dust off the solar panels of "Spirit" and winch it outta the dust it is stuck in.

But then again, by the time it gets there "Spirit" will probably have been stolen by metal thieves and sold to the Jawa.

Re:Spirit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284340)

these blast points... too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.

Government Contracts (0)

Master Moose (1243274) | about 3 years ago | (#37282608)

Seems to me that work contracted for government departments never ends.

Botany Bay (1)

icqraid (2451822) | about 3 years ago | (#37283112)

I know that many of the places named come from Austrailia, but some us of should laugh when we hear Botany Bay. I instantly thought of Chekov in Star Trek II. Interesting note that even in Austrailia, Botany Bay was a penal colony (what wasn't). It just makes the movie funnier.

The End_____ is Near! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 years ago | (#37283262)

I'd be a bit nervous about approaching a crater with the word "End" in it.

Can't wait for it to be warped into... (1)

Joffy (905928) | about 3 years ago | (#37283482)

"Mars rover Opportunity finds new life in epic mission!"

Sending rovers to earth (1)

blackanvil (1147329) | about 3 years ago | (#37286930)

When I read things like this, I wonder if we should send similar rovers to places like NYC and London -- I know I'd read their reports on attempts to discover "life," and the oddities they encounter.

glory days of space science b4 tea party kills it (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 3 years ago | (#37287080)

Seven of the nine major planets either have at least one probe working there or in transit to it. Plus a couple in the Asteroid belt. Next week the Grail gravity probe goes to the Moon. And the long-delayed Curiosity Mars Science Lander launches at Thanksgiving.

The future is less bright. The Hubble replacement Webb telescope is three times is original price, five years late and all but dead in the appropriations committee. Te decadonal report has selected probes for the rest of the 2010s, but none has been formally approved.
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