Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Opportunity Begins 10th Year on Mars

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the sticking-around dept.

Mars 78

An anonymous reader points out that 9 years ago the Opportunity rover started to explore the red planet. "The older, smaller cousin of NASA's huge Mars rover Curiosity is quietly celebrating a big milestone Thursday — nine years on the surface of the Red Planet. NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars the night of Jan. 24, 2004 PST (just after midnight EST on Jan. 25), three weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down. Spirit stopped operating in 2010, but Opportunity is still going strong, helping scientists better understand the Red Planet's wetter, warmer past."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Huzzah! (5, Insightful)

docmordin (2654319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688255)

Here's to Opportunity and, hopefully, another ten years!

Re:Huzzah! (5, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688315)

Hear, hear!

Carry on, Opportunity, your sister will always be with you in Spirit.

Re:Huzzah! (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688575)

Hear, hear!

Carry on, Opportunity, your sister will always be with you in Spirit [xkcd.com] .

Oblig. FTFY

Re:Huzzah! (4, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689411)

I usually go to xkcd to be amused or be provoked into thinking, but this rover existentialism made me a bit sad, actually. I know it's just an inanimate object, but it's hard to stay objective when there's a voice being projecting onto it :/

Re:Huzzah! (3, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689623)

Maybe this will help, [youtube.com] courtesy of Ikea.

Re:Huzzah! (3, Insightful)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year and a half ago | (#42694183)

Thank you for sharing this. I will never buy anything from IKEA ever again. It is even more sad to learn that the advertisement was a "popular, critical, and financial success" and boosted IKEA's sales, according to Wikipedia.

How could a commercial about consumerism resonate with people? Let's all throw away all our stuff for no reason and buy new shit! This is what our IKEA-overlords want us to do! Never mind about the environment, your savings account, or the mere fact that someone may be in need of a lamp and cannot afford it. Not to mention that you can always make a buck by selling the lamp in a used goods store or in a garage sale. And I am sure you can even buy this lamp model brand new marketed as "retro design" or something like that.

Back on topic, maybe IKEA would suggest that we should trash Opportunity now that Curiosity is up and running. Yes objects are inanimate and have no feelings, but that doesn't mean that we should act as retarded sheep.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Skater (41976) | about a year and a half ago | (#42727707)

You've never redesigned a website or anything, ever, even though it performs the same functions in the end? Sure, it's electrons instead of physical objects, but there's still a cost to it - the time to do the work, test it, and deploy it. Is that consumerism, too?

Besides, and only on /. would I be arguing this, but: 1. Perhaps the lamp had a faulty switch or something. Sure, it could be repaired, but if you already aren't happy with the style or the way it throws light, this could be the trigger to get a new lamp entirely. And, 2., where I live, the places who want donations come and pick them up from our porch. How do you know that wasn't the case with the lamp in the commercial?

Re:Huzzah! (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year and a half ago | (#42729291)

If the item really is faulty, then you don't have bad feelings when throwing it away. You just discard it like the junk that it is. Same goes for source code: the work is justified when the old version is a pile of spaghetti code that is hard to maintain and expand. When you know that the stuff are going to be picked up, you also don't have bad feelings. Through its tone, the commercial suggests that the item is being treated in a cruel and "unfair" manner, thus implying that it can still fulfill its function. Indeed, the lamp only goes off at the end of the commercial, to show that it has "given up on life". The sentiments, of course, are only those of the human, who projects it on the personified lamp. This is a clear suggestion that the human feels remorse for doing something bad (and knowing it).

Re:Huzzah! (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42697019)

That didn't help at all! :( Also, I own a lamp that looks almost exactly like that. Now I need to watch more Maru videos.

Re:Huzzah! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42690801)

I usually go to xkcd to be amused or be provoked into thinking, but this rover existentialism made me a bit sad, actually. I know it's just an inanimate object, but it's hard to stay objective when there's a voice being projecting onto it :/

My 6 year old daughter and I happened to watch the launch of Curiosity, and while we were waiting I showed her some pictures of Curiosity. She thought it was really cute. We talked about rockets and stuff, and eventually she asked how it got back to earth. When I explained that it wouldn't she got really quiet then started crying. She was very upset by the idea that this little robot would never get to come home.

Re:Huzzah! (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42692905)

Tell her when she grows up she can go on the Mars mission and they can pick Curiosity up and bring it back to put in the museum.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42695677)

You know, as long as we don't nuke ourselves first, I strongly suspect it will end up back here in a museum. One day, perhaps 100+ years from now. But it'll happen. Too bad I likely won't be around to see it.

Now if they ever retrieve Voyager, that'll be really impressive!

Re:Huzzah! (3, Interesting)

Wolfrider (856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42695931)

--Watching "Silent Running" when I was in the hospital as a kid did the same thing to me. :-\

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067756/ [imdb.com]

Re:Huzzah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42691083)

You do realize how pathetic that sounds, right? Get a fscking life.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

EngnrFrmrlyKnownAsAC (2816391) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688615)

Agreed! *clank* To Opportunity and another nine Earth years!

Re:Huzzah! (4, Insightful)

Barryke (772876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689171)

That would be another 9 years, not 10. Opportunity is now starting its 10th year..

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42692995)

There's always that one guy at the party no one wants to talk to ...

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42693667)

Maybe the OP started counting at 1 instead of 0. The age old programmer argument.

Re: Huzzah! (1)

Rational (1990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42713699)

*Nine* years. /pedant

Not Bad (5, Informative)

bp2179 (765697) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688317)

Not bad at all for something that was planned to last only about 3 months, if it made it past the "beachball" landing.

Re:Not Bad (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688361)

Opportunity is definitely one of NASA's great success stories. A wonder of engineering talent (and a heavy dose of good luck).

I hope by the time humans finally walk on Mars, it's still there so it can be preserved.

Re:Not Bad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688417)

"I hope by the time humans finally walk on Mars, it's still there so it can be preserved"

I don't think its going anywhere...

Re:Not Bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42690279)

That all depends on what hood it happens to roll up into. On earth there are places like South Central LA where cars roll in and mysteriously disappear.

Re:Not Bad (2)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42691435)

That all depends on what hood it happens to roll up into. On earth there are places like South Central LA where cars roll in and mysteriously disappear.

So maybe we'll find it up on cement blocks, with the tires gone?

Re:Not Bad (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42691587)

That all depends on what hood it happens to roll up into. On earth there are places like South Central LA where cars roll in and mysteriously disappear.

So that is what happened to Spirit. Someone stole all the wheels.

Re:Not Bad (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42692929)

It got stuck in the sand and they didn't have AAA.

Re:Not Bad (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42690883)

They didn't expect it to last longer than 3 months. They were wrong. They didn't expect it to be able to gain self-awareness, build a rocket, and launch itself into space again...

Re:Not Bad (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year and a half ago | (#42694229)

Maybe, while they're at it, they can give Spirit a nudge and get her rolling again.

Re:Not Bad (3, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688605)

I hope by the time humans finally walk on Mars, it's still there so it can be preserved.

I just had a mental image of humans landing on Mars and Opportunity rolling up and waving an arm at them in greeting when they open the hatch to step out. :-3

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688987)

Obviously would never happen, but that would be so awesome. I love those rovers (RIP Spirit).

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689655)

wwwwwwWWWWAAAAAALLLLLLLL EEee

Re:Not Bad (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42694021)

And screeching at them in an annoying robot voice, "Spirit 5 is aliiiiiive."

Re:Not Bad (5, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688735)

I hope by the time humans finally walk on Mars, it's still there so it can be preserved.
However, the implications of the rover no longer being where it is assumed to be would be ... interesting.
Might make for a good start of a sci-fi horror movie ... or comedy.

Re:Not Bad (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689005)

Yeah. 100 years from now we roll up in our Mars buggy to Opportunity's location, see wheel tracks (I know, erosion, shut up - this is my fantasy) leading up to the exact location where the rover should be, and...no rover.

Then I can't decide whether it would be cooler/weirder if it was just wheel tracks and no rover or wheel tracks with strange looking "foot" prints leading up to the spot where there was no rover...

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689241)

Thing is there's wind on mars...

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42691579)

Yes. Hence this in my original post:

(I know, erosion, shut up - this is my fantasy)

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42695121)

Ah... Well don't I feel like a fool.

Re:Not Bad (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689191)

I am consistently impressed by this exquisite example of engineering.

The folks who designed and built these machines must have an incredible sense of achievement. I understand the argument that money could have saved if they were designed for and not in excess of the requirements, but in this age of consumer electronics and epic budget cuts those engineers delivered engineering success.

I often wonder what the engineering management lessons are to be learnt from the likes of JPL, and how these lessons could transform folks at Boeing and Lockheed (Dreamliner, F22, etc...). Indeed how those lessons could transform humanity.

An so there it sits: a device for exploration, but so much more a monument to intellectual capacity and success.

Re:Not Bad (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42691031)

By the time humans arrive, the rover will be much older and wiser. But on the other hand, after decades in isolation, the rover may go "native" and repell any human landing as an invasion of its territory.

Re:Not Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42694179)

Nobody expected, yes. Who could expect marsians to shot down European's mission and to keep repairing American's? Now they have spare parts from Spirit...

I too once had an older woman for a neighbour... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688321)

...with a wetter, warmer past. I too spent about ten years exploring that before hitting 24 and moving away. Way to go opportunity!

Happy Ten...ninth birthday (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688369)

Couldn't this have waited until its 10th? Do we start at zero or one??

Maybe 17 year olds can say "I'm in my 18th year, officer. I'm allowed to drink (except in USA and some Muslim countries)."

Not even 5 years (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688373)

Martian year is 1.88 Earth years, so it hasn't even run for 5 years on Mars.

Re:Not even 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689397)

Isn't it 5.139 years so far?

Re:Not even 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689501)

Only if you're a time traveling martian from 243 days in the future.

Re:Not even 5 years (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year and a half ago | (#42692481)

But how many Rover years is that?

Re:Not even 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42699411)

(9 human_earth years)*(7 dog_earth years / 1 human_earth year)*(1 mars_rover year/1.88 dog_earth years) = 33.5 rover_mars years

government unable to keep up with the times... (1)

schallee (183644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688389)

This is just another classic example of how the federal government is unable to keep systems up to date. Any org that cared would've at least had someone add a few more dimms or...wait...

Last message from the Opportunity rover (5, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688391)

"Ah, guys, it's been ten years. Seriously when am I coming home? I figured a year, eighteen months tops. You did make plans to bring me back, right? I mean it's not like you planned to abandon me here. Okay I'll check out this next geological feature but after that we're having a heart to heart about cashing in this return ticket. The winters here are murder and I keep dreaming of that tropical retirement you promised. I found some possible signs of life but I'll discuss it once I'm back in Florida. Just get me back to palm trees and bikinis and I'll tell you whatever you want to know!"

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (3, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688409)

Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] .

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688465)

A lack of imagination? http://xkcd.com/695/

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (0)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688553)

Sorry, never read it. I have a life.

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688601)

Must be a sad life if it doesn't even allow for joys as small as XKCD.

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688651)

So you've got time to come to Slashdot and write a hundred words of Mars Rover internal monologue, but you're too awesome to read a webcomic?

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42688903)

Sorry, never read it. I have a life...

...on World of Warcraft.

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (1)

muecksteiner (102093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688983)

Sorry, never read it. I have a life.

Maybe. But if that really is the case, you arguably don't belong here in the first place. :-)

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689599)

herpderp.

Can jot down worthless comments on /. but can't read a webcomic? Your priorities are screwed, man.

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42692547)

I have a life.

Citation needed.

Re:Last message from the Opportunity rover (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689437)

Nine years. It's been nine years.

martian gag (1)

Libertarian001 (453712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688429)

What was the running gag here, about the Martian overlord extolling his people to withstand the invasion and what not?

Re:martian gag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689149)

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders seethed in his restochamber.

"How hard can this possibly be? Is it too much to ask that one of you snizwiks manage to destroy this mechanized invader from the blue planet? Here we are almost 5 yeernaks later and IT IS STILL THERE."

Witnesses later recount K'Breel then stormed out of his restochamber, immediately punctured the gelsacs of every junior commander he could find, grabbed his snizrifle, hopped in his hovspeeder and headed off in the general direction of the mechanized invader from the thrid planet.

And yet... (5, Funny)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688897)

Still no sign of oil. What a f*ckin waste!

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42699853)

Oil? They would need to find dinosaur bones before they could ever hope to find oil.

Really hostile environment (5, Insightful)

Max_W (812974) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689445)

It is easier to send a robot to Mars than to, say, a local supermarket. It would probably not last in a supermarket for a week.

The really hostile environment for robots is the human social environment.

It is clear how to protect against radiation or low temperatures, but how to protect against coffee into circuits or lipstick on lenses? Or just plain simple kicks from behind.

These are complicated and important problems because robots could be very useful on Earth too right now.

Re:Really hostile environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42690521)

No disassemble Johnny number 5.

Re:Really hostile environment (2)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42690573)

This has been fully explored in Short Circuit, and Short Circuit 2.

You basically just need Fisher Stevens and you can get along fine anywhere (well, maybe with a little mayhem).

Re:Really hostile environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42694257)

You basically just need Fisher Stevens and you can get along fine anywhere (well, maybe with a little mayhem).

Fisher Stevens? I want my mayhem with Ally Sheedy. That would be fine anywhere.

Ten years is enough! Let's bring Opportunity home. (4, Funny)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689447)

I remember it well... it was to be another one of those "boots on the ground, three months and you're out" kind of missions. History is full of those, you would think we'd learned the lesson by now.

Curiosity has hit the ground rolling and predictably the folks at NASA are claiming that this new surge means certain victory. Home by Christmas. Do not be distracted though. They are still out there [wikipedia.org] waiting for reinforcement and relief!

Is it because they are robots?? If I am speaking out of turn so be it. I cannot imagine that if some young soldier were to become immobilized, his leg caught in the sand in some desert, that the military would "re-task him as a stationary strategic platform" and later cease all attempts at communication or rescue.

If they have failed to find much less engage the enemy it has been a fault of NASA Central Command. Bring Opportunity and the others home to a hero's welcome. Bring them home and let them wander the highways and strip malls of this great country and support them in their twilight years. And discounts on furniture and restaurants.

Re:Ten years is enough! Let's bring Opportunity ho (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42699081)

[slow clap]

Grammar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42689547)

"celebrating a big milestone Thursday"

or

"celebrating a big milestone [on] Thursday"

Arrgh!

Re:Grammar? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42689609)

It's "milestone Thursday." Like "jello Tuesday."

Honest question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42690093)

I have zero idea about how this things work sorry. I was wondering how can they last so long, what do they use for fuel? are they full solar powered?

Re:Honest question (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42690741)

Yes, solar panels and rechargeable batteries. They can go into a low-power dormancy mode when dust storms threaten to block the sun for extended periods of time, and when dust starts to cake on the solar panels it can be a problem. High speed winds (aka "cleaning events") can sometimes clear this dust, which is part if how Opportunity has remained functional for as long as it has.

Solar Power (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42690985)

I always thought solar power would not cut it ...
Should the panles not be degraded beyond oblivion and covert with dust ...
Ah, well solar works well on Mars but not on Earth, I forgot about that.

Crap, nine years? (2)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42691657)

If you'd asked me, I would have said maybe five years. It's been nine?

Massive kudos to the entire Opportunity team. It's been awesome. But damn, now I feel old.

25 year exploration plan in place (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42691769)

Curiosity, although rated for only two earth years, could last decade. And NASA has the approval to send another version of Curiosity to Mars in 6-8 years. It would use the same infrastructure to cut costs. But it would have a a more modern set of instruments.

Good news for people as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42695145)

If a small little rover like opportunity can keep going for so long the conditions must not be too bad on Mars. Maybe the day that people live on another planet is sooner than most people think.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?