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Spirit Rolls on Mars

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the look-both-ways-before-crossing-the-street dept.

Space 509

Irishman writes "It looks like the Spirit rover has finally left the womb and is rolling free on the Martian surface. Space.com has the full story and some great pictures." NASA also has photos, straight from their fake set in Hollywood where they produce all the "space" footage.

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509 comments

Mars is so gay (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986439)

Can't we land on one of the non-gay planets?

Saturn, maybe?

Re:Mars is so gay (1, Funny)

Bander (2001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986556)

Mars is the god of war, does it get any more manly than that?

Whereas Saturn... pfft. Saturnalia -> dancing around naked in the woods. Gay, QED.

Bander

You're obviously a latent homo... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986574)

We all know what "planet" [goatse.cx] you want to "land on"!!!!

Revisit Sojourner! (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986442)


I've been really hoping that one day they'll go back to the original Sojourner site and return that unit to Earth for analysis by NASA. They could gain valuable information as to what finally gave on that rover and use it to harden future rovers.

Sojourner was a great success as it lasted much longer than expected. Of course the cost of getting that unit back to Earth would be so high I'm guessing these are just nice dreams. C'est la vie.

Re:Revisit Sojourner! (4, Insightful)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986516)

The batteries can only recharge a certain number of times. Furthermore, there is no way of cleaning the solar panels, so they lose their efficiency over time. That's probably what contributed to its death and you're making a big deal out of a piece of crap rover.

Re:Revisit Sojourner! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986696)

If they'd used an SRG or RTG they wouldn't have those problems. Solar cells? Bah. Waste of weight.

Re:Revisit Sojourner! (3, Insightful)

Maarek_1 (740578) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986714)

I think the problem with this is that it would require something that isn't just on a one-way trip ending in a crash landing on the planet's surface. That would require development of a new type of lander and something capable of carrying the full weight of the old lander.

I doubt that NASA has the funds or enough desire to go through all this to recover the craft.

Kinda sad though

Re:Revisit Sojourner! (3, Insightful)

marksven (137944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986723)

It's not like Sojourner is going anywhere. I'm sure when we've mastered interplanetary flight to the point that it's just routine, we'll probably go back to all the left-behind probe carcasses to do some kind of forensic study and make monuments out of them for the tourists to see.

Anyone hear from that piece of crap the BEAGLE? (-1, Flamebait)

CreamOfWheat (593775) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986445)

EuroTrash on MARS

Re:Anyone hear from that piece of crap the BEAGLE? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986724)

Martians are homophobes, which is why they destroyed the Eurpoean rover. Seeing the stars & stripes painted on Spirit, they allowed it to transform and roll out.

MOST INSIGHTFUL POST EVER ON /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986767)

You sir, are the lone voice of reason here.

Re:MOST INSIGHTFUL POST EVER ON /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986817)

I try. Can I be on teh spoke now?

More info (4, Informative)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986463)

There is also information from SpaceFlightNow [spaceflightnow.com] here [spaceflightnow.com] and here [spaceflightnow.com].

Here's a photo [spaceflightnow.com] of the landing platform it just rolled off of.

From the cited article: 'Data from the Spirit rover shows it completed this morning's drive off the lander at 3:41 a.m. EST. Confirmation was received on Earth just before 5 a.m. EST, verifying that Spirit had performed the 10-foot voyage on its own.

The move took approximately 78 seconds, ending with the back of the rover about 2.6 feet away from the lander egress ramp, officials report.

"It's as if we get to drive a nice sports car, but in the end we're just the valets who bring it around to the front and give the keys to the science team," says flight director Chris Lewicki.'

Fake Footage???!!! (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986474)

Get real. Everybody knows that WETA's been doing the fake space footage since 2000.

Re: Goatse.cx suspention (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986477)

If you visit Goatse.cx [goatse.cx], you can find PDFs of the complaints registered against the domain.

One name sticks out: Rhonda Clarke...
I am going to devote the rest of my life to find this woman and show her what goatse is *really* about.
Bitch.

Re: Goatse.cx suspention (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986728)


That fucking cunt.
Post any info on her here.

Who let the jugs out? (4, Funny)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986480)

JPL engineers played Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the control room as they watched new images confirming that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully rolled off its lander platform early Thursday morning.

Oh for the love of... Really, we didn't need to hear this. I hope that didn't get caught on film because that's the sort of thing that resurfaces at retirement parties. ;p

Re:Who let the jugs out? (1)

benlinkknilneb (708649) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986533)

Aw, give 'em a break. They're nerds. Nerds have... eclectic tastes. That, and their sleep schedules are fouled up by those darned 40 minutes...

Re:Who let the jugs out? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986737)

Eclectic tastes? If they're voluntarily playing the baha men, I don't think they have any taste at all.

Re:Who let the jugs out? (2, Funny)

rupert2000 (618488) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986717)

I think either 'Take me to the River' or 'Bitch is Back' would have been better choices.

Re:Who let the jugs out? (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986820)

Yeah, it did get caught on tape, actually- I saw the JPL celebration on NASA TV earlier (really early) this morning, and sure enough, the Baha Men's lasting musical legacy was played as the image taken looking back at the landing platform was displayed on the main screen. There were some chuckles from the room, but even though JPL engineers aren't exactly renowned for being hip or avant-garde, the consensus, insofar as I could tell watching on television, was, "Lame."

What do the conspiracy dumbasses say now? (-1, Troll)

TheLevelHeadedOne (700023) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986486)

I haven't had time to read any of their recent wipe material....

They got they heads out of their asses, yet?

Re:What do the conspiracy dumbasses say now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986561)


"If you magnify the rear 33rd quadrant of the picture enough, you can see a marker that says 'Property of Lucasarts'!"

Way to go (5, Funny)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986494)

JPL engineers played Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the control room

Way to go and really enforce those nerd stereotypes. Come on guys.

NASA also has photos, straight from their fake set in Hollywood where they produce all the "space" footage.

That is such a big lie!
Those sets have been moved to India.

This story is not important (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986496)

Why is this story important? And why does this story, Domain suspended [www.nic.cx] keep getting rejected and ignored by the Slashdot editors? Oh the humanity!

Science: Spirit Rolls on Mars (-1)

phunster (701222) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986518)

We are not supposed to talk about the Hollywood sets where this stuff is faked.

Sorry chaps (5, Funny)

paranode (671698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986520)

Dear Great Britain,

This is a picture of Mars, hope you like it!

Wishing you were here,

The US of A

Oh come on, laugh, it's not meant to be an insult! ;)

Re:Sorry chaps (1)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986597)

With what Bush has said of getting a man on mars it should read

"
This is a picture of Mars, hope you like it!

Wishing we were here,

The US of A
"

Re:Sorry chaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986603)

Get stuffed.

OH shit... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986811)

that is hardcore!

I'm a little worried... (5, Funny)

starvingcodeartist (739199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986524)

About what might happen should the Martian government get their hands on the rover. They will most likely have to destroy it to cover up the fact that their planet has been visited by machines from another planet. Let's just hope we can get a picture of their leaders before they disconnect the cameras!

Re:I'm a little worried... (1)

aelfric35 (711236) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986743)

One can only wonder why it took them so long to get to Sojourner... This also explains why the government isn't bothering to haul it back to Earth, because Karl Rove and his cronies are obviously conspiring to hide the truth about the Martian government (and the treaty we broke that caused them to bust up Sojourner in the first place) from the American people.

Re:I'm a little worried... (1)

bigkahunafish (708759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986748)

Actually, what NASA doesnt want us to know is that the Martian government has moved the rover to their own studio where they cover up their expansive and luxurious cites and large bodies of water.

NASA couldnt get the rover driving around for a few days because the Martians tied it down when they put it in the studio.

Martians: NASA fools. They only think there's red rocks and maybe some ice on Mars. MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!



(Score:-1, Stupid)

Re:I'm a little worried... (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986809)

Let's just hope we can get a picture of their leaders before they disconnect the cameras!

what leaders? We will just see some poor homeless martians toying with the machine until they accidentally destroy the cameras. Then a one who is smarter will try to sell it for food.

Not from Hollywood. (2, Funny)

ksheka (189669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986526)

The set was moved to Area 51 a number of decades ago.

[ObRant]Sheesh! If you're not going to pay attention to the facts, then why bother posting???[/ObRant]

Re:Not from Hollywood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986780)

...[ObRant]Sheesh! If you're not going to pay attention to the facts, then why bother posting???[/ObRant]

Hi, you must be new here...

You'd think the fake would be obvious .... (-1, Offtopic)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986530)

NASA also has photos, straight from their fake set in Hollywood where they produce all the "space" footage.

You'd think the fact that they are fake would be obvious from the pictures with OJ in them!

Re:You'd think the fake would be obvious .... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986581)

That's funny - a radio guy this morning was going on about how they might find the real killer on Mars since they are never going to find him here on earth.

Re:You'd think the fake would be obvious .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986781)

Ah, another Capricorn 1 fan. Wow, that makes two of us.

Nice Article Summary... (-1, Flamebait)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986531)

NASA also has photos, straight from their fake set in Hollywood where they produce all the "space" footage.

it's jackass commentary like this that does nothing but perpeptuate bullshit to the masses and misinforms that average (read stupid) american. then the average (read stupid again) american's think these things are a waste of money.

yeah, i know he is trying to be witty, but that isn't needed right there

Re:Nice Article Summary... (0, Flamebait)

Thrymm (662097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986560)

Exactly, witty is one thing, but let it come to the comments for that, not the news posting itself. Hell a lot of people think the moon landings were a farce. Maybe some people still think the world is flat too or that the sun circles us every 365 days because of idiocy like this.

Re:Nice Article Summary... (5, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986582)

it's jackass commentary like this that does nothing but perpeptuate bullshit to the masses and misinforms that average (read stupid) american. then the average (read stupid again) american's think these things are a waste of money.

Right, and how many "average Americans" do you know who (A) read Slashdot and (B) won't pick up the sarcasm in the original statement?

It's humor (though I'll agree, it's not really funny). Don't sweat it.

Re:Nice Article Summary... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986611)

it's jackass commentary like this that does nothing but perpeptuate bullshit to the masses and misinforms that average (read stupid) american. then the average (read stupid again) american's think these things are a waste of money.

On the contrary it is there to make the Europeans feel better about themselves.

Re:Nice Article Summary... (1)

Smilodon (66992) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986683)

It's posts like that that perpetuate the myth that SlashDot is read by the "average" American! ;)

Seriously, if the controllers at JPL can play the Baha Men to celebrate rolling on to another planet, certainly a few geeks at SlashDot can have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Dibs!!!! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986541)

That third rock to the left is mine! I want to name it after me... Anonymous Coward.

In other news? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986552)


Wow, this is getting more play-by-play reporting than the SCO story is!

News for nerds. Stuff that matters! (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986740)

Slash dot is news for nerds. Stuff that matters. What could matter more to nerds then scientific and engineering accoumplishments on another planet? The only reason why SCO is getting so much press is because they are trying to hinder engineering accoumplishments.

Air Bag in Photo (1)

johnalex (147270) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986562)

Did anyone else notice the problem airbag in the photo? Too bad the rover couldn't simply have rolled over it.

Re:Air Bag in Photo (1)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986664)

Yeah, I think it's the one straight back in the photo of the lander. (The rover turned about 120 degrees clockwise to get off the lander) There's another bag on the left.

They were afraid one of the solar panels would brush it, and they weren't sure of the consequences, so they took the conservative route.

Re:Air Bag in Photo (1)

cupofjoe (727361) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986688)

MER's wheels stood a pretty good chance of getting "hung up" in the bags. If you remember Sojourner's wheels, which were studded with little metal cone-shaped spikes, you'll understand why operators were concerned.

MER doesn't have those spikes, but its wheels have sharp edges - besides, MER's several times more massive than little Sojourner...a whole different driving experience, to bastardize a BMW ad-line.

It's be like sending a sportscar 37 million miles only to get it stuck in the mud. That's exactly what NASA didn't need this year. Now, if only the next rover can enter Mars's atmosphere without a hitch, we'll be alright.

O.J.! (1, Funny)

Phrack (9361) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986569)

Hey, wasn't that O.J. Simpson running behind Spirit?!?!?!?!



see imdb [imdb.com] for the uninitiated....

Why was moving dangerous? (2, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986578)

I understand that the mission controllers wanted to take their time and not make any foolish mistakes, a policy I agree with.

However, I don't understand why they kept saying that moving the rover off the lander was "dangerous". I thought the rover was designed to be able to deploy even if the lander came to rest upside down. Instead it was right-side-up on level ground. The rover had to drive over the deflated balloon, but why was that more dangerous than just driving over the surface?

sPh

Re:Why was moving dangerous? (4, Informative)

Cyclopedian (163375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986652)

The rover had to drive over the deflated balloon, but why was that more dangerous than just driving over the surface?

Because mission engineers had tested the same setup (airbag position, rover position) and found that the orignal exit ramp had a chance that the rover's solar panel would get caught on the airbag. They decided to opt for the safest route, and turned the rover around and out through the second exit ramp.

Spaceflightnow.com has all the details. [spaceflightnow.com]

-Cyc

Re:Why was moving dangerous? (1)

Odonian (730378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986667)

I suspect it is more politically dangerous than technically dangerous. If the rover gets stuck 3 months from now in some crater a couple of km out, JPL/NASA can declare success, say the mission exceeded expectations, etc. If the rover gets stuck rolling off the ramp, that's another matter. However small the chance is, it looks reeely, reeely bad.. almost better to do the beagle-fiery-crunchy landing with no embarrasing pics than that.

Re:Why was moving dangerous? (1)

bigkahunafish (708759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986818)

It would be like...

Bush: Hows the Mars rover doing?
NASA:UHH, well, we kinda flipped it over getting off the landing pad.
Bush:And you call me an idiot?



(Score:-1, Childish)

Re:Why was moving dangerous? (1)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986729)

However, I don't understand why they kept saying that moving the rover off the lander was "dangerous"...

but why was that more dangerous than just driving over the surface?

I don't recall them saying it was more dangerous. I think they just said that it was dangerous.

I, for one, would consider almost any maneuver by the rover to be dangerous. After all, this is the first time those components have experienced leaving the Earth's atmosphere, existing in Mars' atmosphere, and everything in between.

Many things could go wrong, let's hope they take their time and do it right. To consider any of this to be routine would be a blunder.

Why Moving the Rover Was Dangerous (4, Insightful)

zapp (201236) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986745)

* Driving over the balloons is more dangerous than martian terrain. They could get caught in the wheels.

* Suppose some part of the rover had been broken on landing, but had not surfaced yet because it had not moved. Think of a broken neck - it doesn't cause paralysis until you move and sever your nerves.

* Take advantage of a controlled situation. They wanted to take advantage of a controlled situation for as long as they could. From the lander they could take panoramic pictures from a sligh elevation. They could atmospheric measurements, etc. All this could be done without the adding the possible failure points introduced by moving the rover.

* The lander has more solar panels and perhapse some better communication hardware. Might as well take advantage of them while you're there.

I just pulled those off the top of my head. I'm sure there are better reasons and it's been discussed here before. Will you people stop bickering about them taking too long to move it?

How's this: Give me 3 equally good reasons why they should have hurried to get it off the lander.

Re:Why was moving dangerous? (2, Informative)

cupofjoe (727361) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986778)

Just to clarify: landing upside-down wasn't a failure mode because the lander could right itself by "flipping over" during deployment. This only gets the assembly into the right position for letting the rover roll off. This, as we've seen, is a whole different proposition.

Spirit actually had to roll off a 4-5" drop at the bottom of the ramp, possibly because of rocks, uneven ground, etc. That drop would've flipped Sojourner, for example, on its back. Being the size of a golf cart, Spirit has some advantages in this area. But as it's more massive, it has its own set of problems, as I've also commented on.

I also agree with the poster who states that the real danger is as much political as it is technical. But MER's operators probably aren't thinking that. Managers, yes. Engineers and scientists, probably not.

dr4m4 0n m4r5... (2, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986579)

So if these space photos are made on a set (or out in a desert), where would all that money that Bush just announced he's giving NASA go? In my opinion, NASA should forget cameras and go for full-on fraudulent Mars cinematography. Complete with a full cast of Martian characters, leading up to a climax where the main character has to make a decision about whether his best friend lives... or DIES. *cue the tear*

His friend is a talking pie.

Re:dr4m4 0n m4r5... (1)

Silicon Knight (15308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986750)

where would all that money that Bush just announced he's giving NASA go?

All that money? Seems to me that the Bush space strategy [yahoo.com] is going to cost NASA more than he's giving them.

U.S. President George W. Bushs new space exploration strategy will be paid for over the next several years with $1 billion in new funding for NASA and $11 billion that will be shifted from other agency programs, according to congressional sources.

Jennifer Trosper is a (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986584)

hottie! My only question is - when will Playboy come out with a "Women of NASA" issue ?

Re:Jennifer Trosper is a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986800)

yeah id give her a damn good seeing to!

hmm (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986612)

"NASA also has photos, straight from their fake set in Hollywood where they produce all the "space" footage."

I really hope you were being sarcastic. Otherwise, I think you're too ignorant to be controlling the flow of useful information.

But then, it's Slashdot...

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986615)

1) ...All Mars rovers will be MONITORED by
ARTIFICIAL SCIENTISTS made of MAGLEV
MINDSTORM LEGO 2D ANIMATION STUDIOS MADE
OF HELIUM SUPERSOLID BLEEP VOIP FLAW!!!
2) ?????
3) PROFIT!!!
4) ?????
5) PROFIT!!!!!

OK, so who DID let the dogs out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986619)

I know this is off topic, but the damn beagles have been running around my back yard since the end of December and I really do want to know who let the dogs out?

Who let your MOM out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986733)

Chris Cuevas nad ME!!!

the waiting is over ---but (2, Interesting)

Anonym1ty (534715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986620)

Well I am glad to see that the thing did not get stuck on a balloon.

The chance of spirit getting stuck made me think. (For the next ones we make) Why not get some very small solid rocket engines and put them facing in all directions on this thing. If the rover gets stuck, then as a last resort they could try igniting one or more of these small rockets engines to try and dislodge the rover. These rocket engines would probably be the smallest model rocket engines (or smaller) since I would hope you wouldn't need much of a bang to move in the Martian gravity. They are also pretty cheap.

granted you'd only get one shot, but if it's a last resort it's better to have one shot then none.

Re:the waiting is over ---but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986735)

I'm pretty sure model rocket engines rely on having sufficient oxygen in the atmosphere.

Re:the waiting is over ---but (2, Funny)

kjdames (588423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986775)

I've got a better idea. What if we build a large wooden rabbit...

Re:the waiting is over ---but (2, Funny)

Brento (26177) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986793)

Why not get some very small solid rocket engines and put them facing in all directions on this thing.....They are also pretty cheap.

Great idea! Duct tape $5 bottle rockets all over the rover! That'll definitely decrease its chances of failure. Brilliant!

You wouldn't happen to work in the European Space Agency, would you?

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986624)

Mod me off topic for certain!

Some mechanism needs to be installed at slashdot that gets these stories out faster.

Mars is tiny (3, Funny)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986641)

Did you look at those pictures? You can see the curve of it's surface from the surface. I dunno, I don't think life could have existed on a planet that small.

Re:Mars is tiny (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986691)

i always assumed curvature in pics like these (i didn't look at these pics though) was from the lense of the camera.

Re:Mars is tiny (1)

ewithrow (409712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986694)

I don't know if your trying to be funny or not, but FYI they are using fish-eye lenses on the navigation cameras that allow them to have a 120 degree field of view.

Re:Mars is tiny (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986725)

Did you look at those pictures? You can see the curve of it's surface from the surface. I dunno, I don't think life could have existed on a planet that small.

You can compensate for the curvature by bending your skull in the opposite way. I am sure it is quite pliable :-)

Re:Mars is tiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986732)

Yeah, and everything there looks rounded and bent out of shape...it's almost like it's a fish-eye len..doh

what's next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986650)

And that theme song in which the words could be changed to "Muppet Babies, we show our weens to you"...

Simply sad..I pine for a simpler day.

Your Obvious exits are NORTH, SOUTH and DENNIS.

>_

It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986657)

Now the MER can start analysing all the pieces of machinery (http://enterprisemission.com/spirit.htm) scattered in the Gusev crater

^_^

Mars Watch (1)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986678)

I found this [nasa.gov] to be one of the more interesting links from the NASA site. It is about a watchmaker in California who modified mechanical watches to keep Mars time.

Siginificant (1)

Sean Johnson (66456) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986679)

From the article:

"Controllers called it the most significant 10 feet (3 meter) drive in history."
________________________________
Why is this so significant when the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover did this during the 1997 Mars Exploration? Is it because this is actually being controlled by scientists remotely? Is the main difference simply because Pathfinder drove itself, using terrain analysis and obstacle avoidance, instead of having scientists drive it themselves? I don't quite understand how this is significant over what was previously achieved. Please help me to understand.

Dance Monkey!! (4, Funny)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986680)

JPL engineers played Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the control room as they watched new images confirming that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully rolled off its lander platform early Thursday morning.

A bunch of sweaty scientists dancing around the lab to "who let the dogs out"? Was Steve Ballmer there?

Would it help if I got out and pushed? (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986695)

The rover exited the lander going .0007386 miles per hour! thats really friggen slow!!! I probably screwed up on the math but it went 3 feet in 78 seconds. I assumed that this was at a constant speed.

flimsy looking (1, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986702)

Why are the robots we send to mars always so flimsy looking, the look like they are designed to easily get stuck or break,If i was designing a mars rover i would make sure that
A) It was capable of clearing debris off it's solar panels
B) it could right itself if overturned
C) it's propulsion system was designed to resist getting tangled up by parachutes and any other stuff around the landing spot
D) it Carrys a redundant solar array in case the solar array is damaged
E) it has to be able to "lift" itslef in any direction in case it gets stuck at an odd angle, 6 to 8 extendable rods facing different directions should be fine

Re:flimsy looking (1)

skaladin (97172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986774)

According to your specs, the things would probably be twice as heavy as well. This isn't like throwing an extra pair of underwear in your suitcase.

Re:flimsy looking (1)

panurge (573432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986788)

Unfortunately there isn't a launcher in the world big enough to get your design to Mars. Extraterrestrial robots are a nice balance of what people would like and what is actually feasible. This is extremely difficult to do, which is why it takes genius engineers to design them.

ROLL OUT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986712)

I got my twin glock .40s, cocked back
Me and my homies, so drop that
We rollin on twenties, with the top back
So much money, you can't stop that
Twin glock .40s, cocked back
Me and my homies, so drop that
We rollin on twenties, with the top back
So much money, you can't stop that

Now where'd you get that platinum chain with them diamonds in it?
Where'd you get that matchin Benz with them windows tinted?
Who them girls you be with when you be ridin through?
Man I ain't got nothin to prove, I paid my dues
Breakin the rules, I shake fools while I'm takin 'em, whewwwww!
Tell me who's your weed man, how do you smoke so good?
You's a superstar boy, why you still up in the hood?
What in the world is in that BAG, what you got in that BAG?
A couple a cans a whoop ass, you did a good ass job of just eyein me, spyin me

[Chorus]

Man, that car don't come out until next year, where in the fuck did you get it?
That's eighty-thousand bucks GONE, where in the fuck did you spend it?
You must have eyes on your back, 'cause you got money to the ceiling
And the bigger the cap, the bigger the peelin
The better I'm feelin, the more that I'm chillin
Winnin, drillin and killin the feelin
Now who's that bucked-naked cook fixin three-coast meals?
Gettin goosebumps when her body tap the six inch heels
What in the world is in that ROOM, what you got in that ROOM?
A couple a gats, a couple a knives, a couple of rats, a couple of wives
Now it's time to choose

[Chorus]

Are you custom-made, custom-paid, or you just custom-fitted?
Playstation 2 up in the ride and is that Lorenzo-kitted?
Is that your wife, your girlfriend or just your main bitch?
You take a pick, while I'm rubbin the hips, touchin lips to the top of the dick
Now tell me who's your housekeeper and what you keep in your house?
What about diamonds and gold, is that what you keep in your mouth?
What in the world is in that CASE, what you got in that CASE?
Get up out my face, you couldn't relate, wait to take place at a similar pace
So shake, shake it

[(Chorus) 1/2x]

Get out my business, my biznass
Stay the fuck up out my biznass, ah
'Cause these niggas all up in my shit and it's my business,
my biznass
Stay the fuck up out my biznass, 'cause it's mine, oh mine
My business, my biznass
Stay the fuck up out my biznass
'Cause these niggas all up in my shit.......[fade]

creators' 'spirit' roils on earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7986763)

wrong guise to peace off, that's for sure.

no one has the right to take the life of another for ANY reason. there are NO exceptions.

Sniff a rock! (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986770)

I think they should hurry up and do a close-up analysis of a rock rather than worry about long-distance jaunts. If it croaks in a few days, not having analyzed a single rock up close would be a shame.

Oh man what a hack (4, Funny)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986787)

I remember someone back a couple of years was caught in JPL's computers. Maybe there are some backdoors still? ::)

Shotgun first drive! Of course I realize it's not like an RC car, but I can imagine right?

Interesting soil (5, Informative)

Fr33z0r (621949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7986816)

The dirt sticking to the wheels of Sojourner (Pathfinder) was discussed at great lengths on a board I read [anomalies.net] (bit of a crazy board full of the insane for the most part, but there are decent threads from time to time), a bunch of people yelling "it's mud, Mars is wet!" when in reality Soujourner had spun it's wheels in the dirt and essentially "dug" in the dirt... Well, that and the "dirt" is largely magnetite which is inherently magnetic.

Flash forward to today and we've got the "magic carpet", and dirt sticking to Spirit's wheels, sans digging - very interesting, and by the sounds of it also very unexpected. It will be great to find out what's making it stick, and just "how Mars works" in general.

Did I ever mention how glad I am humanity has another rover on an alien world? :)
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