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Mars Probe Probably Lost Forever

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the alas-poor-MGS dept.

167

David Shiga writes, "NASA's silent Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft is likely lost forever. The space agency attempted to take a picture of the 10-year-old spacecraft using the newer Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, but did not detect it, either because its orbit has shifted since last contact, or because it isn't reflecting enough sunlight to be visible. NASA has now ordered its Opportunity rover to listen from the planet's surface for MGS's radio beacon. If that fails, the agency may call on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft to join the search. But MGS may already have run out of power and NASA officials are not optimistic about recovering it."

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Missing? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944344)

Did they check Mars? I would bet that it is probably there.

Re:Missing? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944366)

That might be a problem - they just drove one of their rovers into a giant pothole and the other's got a broken leg.

DURACELL Batteries (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944824)

This is what happens when you believed the hype and put the cheaper Radio Shack Energizer Bunny batteries in your mission critical apps way back then...

Re:Missing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946060)

They are trying to search Mars, but Google has yet to release GoogleMars, crippeling the search for both Cylon *caugh* i mean robots, yea, robots, as well as martians.

Transformers (5, Funny)

firehawk2k (310855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944352)

Was that the one crushed by the Decepticons? I don't think we'll be recovering it anytime soon.

May I be the first to say.... (5, Funny)

mhore (582354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944356)

...it was obviously captured by aliens.

Re:May I be the first to say.... (2, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944430)

First to welcome our new Martian Over-Lords

Please, take our leader!

How about the song of the day

"This is ground control to Major Tom. Your circuit's dead, is there something wrong?"

Re:May I be the first to say.... (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945372)

Please, take our leader!

      Surely they wouldn't be THAT stupid, would they?

Re:May I be the first to say.... (5, Funny)

Ridcully (121813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944470)

"I claim this probe in the name of Mars! Isn't that delightful?" - Marvin

Funny that. Aliens taking our probes, rather than the other way 'round.

Re:May I be the first to say.... (4, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944674)

*shifts uncomfortably in seat*

Well it's about time they got some probing action.... my doctor says the cream is helping though.

Thank goodness for small blessings and all that.

Re:May I be the first to say.... (2, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946168)

Our probes take aliens? Must be one of the newer problems...

Re:May I be the first to say.... (2, Funny)

PeterB87 (900572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946368)

On Soviet Mars, probes alienate you... ?

Re:May I be the first to say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944564)

Funny. But seriously: what if it was, and we found out? How would humanity respond?

Re:May I be the first to say.... (2, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944620)

Declare a War on Martians, probably, followed by a swift invasion.

Re:May I be the first to say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944660)

Hello humankind, you have 3 days to surrender...

If they could get from one solar system to the next then they could smack us hard..

Re:May I be the first to say.... (1, Troll)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944676)

I can see Bush now....

Gentlemen, the Martians have attacked our spy sattelite. Attack now... We will impress them with our Shock and Awe strategy!

Behold, Our Superior airpower... What do you mean, we only have a couple light armament sattelites? Wasn't that what daddy's president made Star Wars for, and Empire Strikes back? Send out the X-Wings!

Guess we'll have to resort to the secondary Shock and Awe strategy... Moon them, then shower them with cute teddy bears.

Re:May I be the first to say.... (1)

Electric-PI (1021677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944662)

EZ just declare them part of the axis of evil, say they have WMD, and invade them.

Sycorax Rock! (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944952)

We own you. We now possess your land, your minerals, your precious spacecraft. You will surrender or you will die. Sycorax strong! Sycorax mighty! Sycorax rock!

Re:Sycorax Rock! (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945496)

"You will destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?"

"We would destroy the Cybermen with ONE dalek."

Maybe we should wait for Google Mars... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945604)

It's very clear -- the probe swept over an area that the owners didn't want surveyed, and set up us the bomb. Great justice was served.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944368)

When did all this happen?

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944588)

When did all this happen?

Well you could just click on the link to RTFA and find that it happened on the 2nd of this month. (This month is November if you're _really_ not paying attention.) Or you could put "mars" into the search bar for Slashdot and find this article [slashdot.org] from about a week and a half ago.

This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER too (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944370)

Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history

RANCHO SANTA FE, CALIF. - In recent months, a spate of atheist books have argued that religion represents, as "End of Faith" author Sam Harris puts it, "the most potent source of human conflict, past and present."
ADVERTISEMENT

Columnist Robert Kuttner gives the familiar litany. "The Crusades slaughtered millions in the name of Jesus. The Inquisition brought the torture and murder of millions more. After Martin Luther, Christians did bloody battle with other Christians for another three centuries."

In his bestseller "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world's recent conflicts - in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in
Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka - show the vitality of religion's murderous impulse.

The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.

Moreover, many of the conflicts that are counted as "religious wars" were not fought over religion. They were mainly fought over rival claims to territory and power. Can the wars between England and France be called religious wars because the English were Protestants and the French were Catholics? Hardly.

The same is true today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not, at its core, a religious one. It arises out of a dispute over self-determination and land. Hamas and the extreme orthodox parties in
Israel may advance theological claims - "God gave us this land" and so forth - but the conflict would remain essentially the same even without these religious motives. Ethnic rivalry, not religion, is the source of the tension in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

p>Yet today's atheists insist on making religion the culprit. Consider Mr. Harris's analysis of the conflict in Sri Lanka. "While the motivations of the Tamil Tigers are not explicitly religious," he informs us, "they are Hindus who undoubtedly believe many improbable things about the nature of life and death." In other words, while the Tigers see themselves as combatants in a secular political struggle, Harris detects a religious motive because these people happen to be Hindu and surely there must be some underlying religious craziness that explains their fanaticism.

Harris can go on forever in this vein. Seeking to exonerate secularism and atheism from the horrors perpetrated in their name, he argues that Stalinism and Maoism were in reality "little more than a political religion." As for Nazism, "while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominantly secular way, it was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity." Indeed, "The holocaust marked the culmination of ... two thousand years of Christian fulminating against the Jews."

One finds the same inanities in Mr. Dawkins's work. Don't be fooled by this rhetorical legerdemain. Dawkins and Harris cannot explain why, if Nazism was directly descended from medieval Christianity, medieval Christianity did not produce a Hitler. How can a self-proclaimed atheist ideology, advanced by Hitler as a repudiation of Christianity, be a "culmination" of 2,000 years of Christianity? Dawkins and Harris are employing a transparent sleight of hand that holds Christianity responsible for the crimes committed in its name, while exonerating secularism and atheism for the greater crimes committed in their name.

Religious fanatics have done things that are impossible to defend, and some of them, mostly in the Muslim world, are still performing horrors in the name of their creed. But if religion sometimes disposes people to self-righteousness and absolutism, it also provides a moral code that condemns the slaughter of innocents. In particular, the moral teachings of Jesus provide no support for - indeed they stand as a stern rebuke to - the historical injustices perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

Atheist hubris
The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people - the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped - have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."

Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.

It's time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been the greatest source of human conflict and violence. Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.

* Dinesh D'Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His new book, "The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11," will be published in January.

Re:This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER (0, Offtopic)

rochi (930552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944446)

How the hell did the loss of a rover lead you to atheism being the source of all violence? Also, in regards to that nice little book, the bloodthirstiness is sort of global. There are just as many mass murderers who say "god told me to" as there are mass murderers who decide that the lack of a big scary bogeyman means they can throw morality out the window.

Re:This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER (0, Offtopic)

Scoldog (875927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944600)

Off topic, but you've just reminded me of a Billy Connolly sketch.

He said "Go on TV and tell the audience that God talks to you, they will send in money. Go to any loony bin and tell them God talks to you, they won't even let you home for your pajamas."

Re:This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER (2, Funny)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944634)

Always remember: The Medium is the Message, and the Message is the Audience (and the message is really stupid).

Re:This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945410)

Death to Videodrome! Long live The New flesh!

Re:This article reminds you that DEATH is FOREVER (-1, Offtopic)

todd10k (889348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945732)

"Ethnic rivalry, not religion, is the source of the tension in Northern Ireland"

Biggest crock of shit ive ever heard. As an irishman, this offends me. I'd like to know where the author of this elephant shit got this from. Wikipedia doe'snt count. The plantation of ulster was a strategy to ensure prostant dominance in northern ireland in 1609. Religion was the primary motivation for the plantation, not an "ethnic purge". I challenge the author to demonstrate significant difference's between any english and irish person. barring the accent, irish and english people are pretty much physically identical. Also, take this tripe somewhere else. this is a thread for a NASA probe being lost, not a soapbox to push your crazy religious nonsense. to everyone else, i apologise for taking trollbait.

To Mars with Nine Inch Nails (0, Offtopic)

Chemkook (915402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944380)



Just a cool video, that's all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ajsXzTFLYA

It was a good run... (5, Insightful)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944398)

You got to admit, we've been having some fantastic luck with some of the recent Mars missions. Unfortunately, the luck has either been fantasticly good or fantasticly bad.
We just have to keep reminding ourselves that sending something millions of miles through space to a speck of rock and have it function so well for so long is an amazing achievement in and of itsself.

Re:It was a good run... (5, Informative)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944748)

The Global Surveyor probe completed its primary mission in 2001 and was in an "extended mission" phase. While its extended mission was to last until 2008, it was already essentially on bonus time. This is definitely still in the good luck category.

Re:It was a good run... (5, Insightful)

dsci (658278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945122)

This is definitely still in the good luck category.

Exactly. People can say what they want about NASA | JPL, but the bottom line is they put up some good stuff much of the time. What really got my eye was how they just 'asked' Opportunity to listen for it. That is, that those things are so dynamic in what they do and can be 'asked' to do simply amazes me.

Who knew years ago when Opportunity (also past expected mission life, right?) was designed that it would be on-the-fly tasked to listen for another spacecraft's signal. That it was designed in this way is a testament to well planned engineering. IMO.

Re:It was a good run... (3, Funny)

O.W.M (884392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945814)

What really got my eye was how they just 'asked' Opportunity to listen for it. That is, that those things are so dynamic in what they do and can be 'asked' to do simply amazes me.

Well, they did say please...

Re:It was a good run... (0)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945908)

I don't want to dis NASA (because I like them too), but come on. All these missions are multi-billion dollar expeditions. If after billions of dollars of development, no one has thought, hey, maybe we should build these things so that we can give them new instructions if something comes up, and maybe we should make them so they can listen to diverse sets of radio broadcasts, they'd be real assholes.

Again, I like NASA a lot, and they do some very impressive engineering, but if you're impressed because they don't make "fire and forget" spacecraft, I think that's really more a statement on low expectations for our space program.

Re:It was a good run... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946084)

I don't want to dis NASA (because I like them too), but come on. All these missions are multi-billion dollar expeditions.


No, none of these were multi-billion dollar missions.

MGS cost something like a quarter billion bucks, iirc, and the pair of rovers together was somewhere north of $800 million.

Re:It was a good run... (4, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944774)

Actually, the Mars Global Surveyor finished its mission, and had long outlasted its original mission scope when the failure occurred. While unfortunate, this failure isn't wholly unanticipated as the craft was "out of warranty" as it were.

Re:It was a good run... (4, Interesting)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945726)

What I'm incredibly impressed over is the fact that they're mobilizing other space craft in the area to look for the missing probe. The fact that NASA can get spacecraft designed for complete autonomy in extreme environments, and designed years apart by different groups at that, to cooperate with each other all while tens of millions of miles from the closest human, well, that's a pretty impressive bit of engineering.

Anybody going to miss it? (-1, Troll)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944410)

I won't. Up until a minute ago I didn't even know it existed. I suppose there are uncountably many government programs which I am rationally ignorant of... I hope most of them provide some benefit to someone, somewhere, which would put them in marked contrast to space probes. We could just give Lockheed Martin or whoever the R&D slush fund directly and not lose billions of paying the NASA middleman.

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944480)

Suppose you wished we'd just stayed up in the trees then, ya?

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (1)

Lost_In_Specs (843932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944872)

Suppose you wished we'd just stayed up in the trees then, ya?

For my money, this whole leaving the oceans thing was a bad idea.

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (2, Funny)

VultureMN (116540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946106)

I personally think it's all gone downhill since that whole silly "multicellular" craze. Phffft.

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944560)

I am, for the simple reason that I was having fun rendering high-detail Mars planetoid 3D art. The sheer amount of data I've downloaded from the MGS project alone and NASA's JPL webservers would probably astonish you.
The resolutions available would STUPIFY you.
3D art is nothing more than a hobby to me, but it's fun to render still-images and sometimes video of a simple sphere with more detail than is available even with Google Earth.

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945528)

I assume you're talking about heightmap data, possibly with surface mapped photos?

Doesn't NASA have this catalog for Earth somewhere? I know the Venusian version is available from somewhere (not sure if it's NASA, the USGS, or someone else, and not sure if it's free to download) but I'm curious if that type of data is available for Earth, and if it's public domain/accessible from NASA's or the JPL's website.

Re:Anybody going to miss it? (1)

rk (6314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945626)

Um, actually, yeah. I have a couple friends who are probably going to be out of a job now. So, approve or disapprove of it, the fact remains somebody's going to miss it.

I call shenanigans (1, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946104)

Aside from the general difficulty of firing government workers, nobody is going to lose their jobs over happening to be around when a mission which had gone years past its planned expiration date finally winked out of existence. At worst they'll have a few weeks of sitting around the office watching the computer screens, then they'll be reassigned to another NASA project. Not that I really think NASA engineers would be in a terrible place if the agency suddenly vanished tomorrow. After all, they're rocket scientists. I'm sure they can work something out. (Yeah, I know, NASA also employs janitors and cafeteria workers and techs. So does the rest of the world. You don't need to have anything orbiting a celestial body to pay someone to move a broom around.)

This just in... (5, Funny)

ectotherm (842918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944416)

A pink rabbit beating a large bass drum was just spotted in the vicinity of Mars. Communications with the Mars Probe are expected to resume momentarily... ;)

Re:This just in... (1)

boarsai (698361) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945612)

The signal was actually lost as that rabbit got tired of beating a drum and decided to beat on the probe instead. Seriously, if you spend that long in space with nothing but a drum, you'd go crazy too. You'd possibly also be dead... but don't let that stop you! Quiters are losers.

Any other options? (5, Funny)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944464)

"either because its orbit has shifted since last contact, or because it isn't reflecting enough sunlight to be visible"

So either it wasn't there or it was there but they didn't see it. I think that has to pretty safe to say they have limited the problem down considerably.

Re:Any other options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944550)

Knowing NASA, it was equally likely they were looking at it, but just had no fucking clue that was the case. Though I'm still not ruling that out. ;)

Re:Any other options? (1)

darkhalo101 (1010973) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945464)

Sounds like they are trying to find a black cat in a dark basement at midnight and the cat might not even be there. :-) www.thatpoliticalblog.com

Plague (4, Funny)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944478)

Why are humans, a plague on this planet, trying to gain dominion over the others?

If God had meant us to fly, he'd have given us rocket engines, day one.

(Yes, tongue is firmly in cheek.)

Re:Plague (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944546)

If God had meant us to come down out of the trees, he would have taken away our prehensile toes!

Re:Plague (4, Informative)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944834)

If he hadn't intended us to look at porn, he wouldn't have given us opposable thumbs.

Re:Plague (4, Funny)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945228)

If he hadn't intended you nitwits to be seen, he would have given me mod points.

Re:Plague (1)

Meph_the_Balrog (796101) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945928)

Modded insightful no less =)

Re:Plague (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944882)

(Time Bandits)

Evil: If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One!
[zaps one of his minions accidentally, minion screams]
Evil: Sorry.

Re:Plague (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945348)

If God had meant us to fly, he'd have given us rocket engines, day one.

      Light one of your farts on fire, and tell me that's not a rocket engine...10-9-8-7...

Lost forever? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944492)

It's probably in an unknown orbit. Chances are as our space travel technology improves and we start to colonize Mars, it will turn up someday. Either it will be detected in orbit by one of our spacecraft, or its orbit will decay and its remains will be found on the Martian surface as research and civilization there expands. It might be a few hundred years, but eventually most of what we sent there could be found.

Either that or it will appear in a future episode, with..certain...alien mutations.

time for a rescue mission, perhaps? (1, Funny)

kevintron (1024817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944498)

Many people joke, somewhat grimly, about the casualty rate for Mars missions. In this case we have a serious lesson to draw from what is happening. Having several other probes active at the same time gives us options we otherwise would not have.

If Mars Global Surveyor had been out there all alone, mission controllers would have little choice other than waiting for it to somehow recover and renew contact on its own. Having Spirit, Opportunity, the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express all out there at the same time, we get more chances to figure out some truly innovative way to save the troubled spacecraft.

However, if all these other efforts fail, we should seriously consider sending up a human repair crew to rescue Mars Global Surveyor. We have seen how the Hubble Space Telescope can rally public support for extra launches of the Space Shuttle. A thoughtfully run campaign to save Mars Global Surveyor could, in some small but perhaps crucial way boost public support for sending humans to Mars.

it was aliens (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944572)

Oh look, there's a video of aliens carrying it off on Youtube...lol just kidding, I guess not EVERYTHING is on Youtube. But clearly, it was kidnapped by aliens. The next one they send ought to have anti-alien defense mechanisms. Btw it sounds like there's a freakin lot of rovers and such on Mars at the moment. Just how many does Earth have there at the moment? I thought it was like 2.

Not a bad run (5, Funny)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944618)

Continual probing of a heavenly body for almost 10 years? Beats my record by a long shot.

Re:Not a bad run (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945444)

10 years versus 20 seconds? Yeah, i'd say so.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944652)

Maybe the dingo ate your baby.

lost forever? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944656)

probably its software was written in java.

Calling ESA? (1)

KeepQuiet (992584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944682)

Calling Europen Space Agency? Didn't those guys lost their own rover [wikipedia.org] too?

Re:Calling ESA? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944714)

Calling Europen Space Agency?


Does co-operation hurt your national pride?

Re:Calling ESA? (1)

KeepQuiet (992584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944808)

I am not American (European student in US). So no it didn't hurt anything.

Re:Calling ESA? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944912)

Mods, mod parent reatard. (or if missing that option, a troll)

Re:Calling ESA? (1)

Aerovoid (590728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945040)

If you read your own link, you will have noticed that it was made by a group of British academics and with the help of a couple UK universities. And not by the ESA, it just hitched a ride on the Mars Express. Not unlike the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, where the Huygens Probe(ESA) hitched a ride with the Cassini probe(NASA). Also the Beagle 2 was not a rover, just a lander. A bit nit picky I know, but I still...

It's not about LUCK... (3, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944698)

SO many posts here about the curse of Mars or whatever, but you have to remember Surveyer was on the 10th year of its 2 year mission!! It exceeded its specs and performed beautifully. It's sad to lose an orbiter, but at this point, it shouldn't be considered a failed mission.

What is with Mars? (0, Troll)

wateriestfire (962915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944706)

Why is the world spending billions upon billions on a planet scientists knew there wasn't any life on before we even went up. Now they continue to send probe after probe to this one planet like it is NASA's lovechild. There truly is nothing more to see on that rock, for we have all seen the countless images from mars. I am not even going to get into the absolute stupidity and madness of sending a portion of the population to live there either.

Re:What is with Mars? (5, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944900)

1) Because it's fairly close to us?

2) Because there is evidence that there used to be water on the planet, which means it's possible there used to be life there?

3) Because it's atmosphere is relatively mild, which makes it easier to build machines that can stand it?

4) Just because?

Re:What is with Mars? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945214)

I'd like to also add that it's the next most likely planet to which we send a manned mission, for the above reasons and it's the most likely planet for possible future colonization. All things considered it's probably the best candidate for exploration right now, close and somewhat similar but quite different from Earth as well.

Re:What is with Mars? (1)

wateriestfire (962915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945440)

So... I guess the moon isn't close enough? Future colonization of any planet besides our own is the most ridiculus thing I have ever heard of. The moral and scientific issues it brings up are so crazy I choose not even to discuss them.

Re:What is with Mars? (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945926)

"The moral and scientific issues it brings up are so crazy I choose not even to discuss them."


Damn you! I was ready to ask you what moral and scientific issues you were talking about, but since you don't want to discuss them, I will forever be left with a feeling of emptiness, knowing that the insight you choose to hold back will forever be barred from influencing the collective wisdom of the common man.

Re:What is with Mars? (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945508)

There truly is nothing more to see on that rock, for we have all seen the countless images from mars.

We've all seen pictures of the top of Mt Everest. Does that mean we should no longer climb mountains? We have seen pictures of the ocean floor. Should we no longer SCUBA dive? By no means! We explore because it is human nature to test our limits, to push the boundaries, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

We have not even seen one tenth of one percent of the Martian surface, yet there "is nothing more to see". Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the Solar System, three times as tall as Mt Everest, but who cares. There is nothing to see. Tourists flock by the millions each year to take in the Grand Canyon. The Valles Marineris is the deepest canyon system in the Solar System. Five times deeper, and hundreds of times longer, it makes the Grand Canyon look like a tire rut. But who cares. We've seen a few pictures of a couple of Martian rocks, so there's no point in going to the Valles Marineris. Well, Here's [englishriverwebsite.com] a picture of some Earth rocks, and here's [google.com] a link to some maps. So now you don't ever have to leave your house.

As for Mars being lifeless, we do not *know* that there is no life on Mars. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Why, Opportunity could find lichen on a rock tomorrow afternoon.

Dang... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16944708)

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Time to update... (3, Interesting)

DangerTenor (104151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944784)

It might be time to update the Mars Scorecard [anl.gov] .... although we got some good work out of the MGS, it might be time to mark this one up for the green guys.

Re:Time to update... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945092)

It might be time to update the Mars Scorecard.... although we got some good work out of the MGS, it might be time to mark this one up for the green guys.


You know, I mostly stopped commenting (or even reading) space related stories on /. long ago, because the commenters and moderators don't know jack shit about space or space exploration.

You just got added to the wrong column of that scorecard.

Mars Global Surveyor was a huge win in Earth's column. The spacecraft returned friggen superb results, for far longer than we expected. We didn't get "some good work out of MGS," we got vast amounts of good work out of it.

God damn, I wish Slashdot quit posting space related stories.

Forever? (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944826)

Perhaps if we ever colonize Mars, someone will stumble upon its wreckage.

Thats ok (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944848)

My mom can pick it up after she gets me from soccer practice.

Sony Battery Recall (3, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944906)

NASA was trying to cut costs by using off the shelf components. Unfortunately, UPS does not deliver replacement batteries to their current location ;)

Wow.... (2, Insightful)

dtdns (559328) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944938)

And I thought losing SSH access to my BSD server 3000 miles away was a tough break. I can't even imagine what kind of inventive hacks would be needed to restore a lost probe orbiting another planet.

Re:Wow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945842)

And I thought losing SSH access to my BSD server 3000 miles away was a tough break. I can't even imagine what kind of inventive hacks would be needed to restore a lost probe orbiting another planet.

Bend over, I'll explain later.

Lost in Space (2, Insightful)

majoritywhip (829722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945058)

Forever? Is the submitter implying that humans will Never make it to Mars?

Re:Lost in Space (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945826)

Mars? Are you implying that the probe will always land on Mars?

Voyager is going to keep its record... (5, Interesting)

surfdaddy (930829) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945076)

for a while longer. The two spacecraft, launched in the mid 1970's, are almost 30 years old. And they're still working, 9 billion miles away. They're well beyond the orbit of Pluto. Now that's impressive. Not to take away from Mars Global Surveyor or the twin rovers.

Re:Voyager is going to keep its record... (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945430)

I agree - that those craft are still even alive is a wonder. Still, considering how old they are, how far away, and how run down their power sources are, does NASA still get anything from them? Are they actually still working in any appreciable way?

Curious to know (not just nit-picking semantics), I decided to go to the JPL mission page [nasa.gov] . Voyager 1 passed the 100 AU mark this summer, that's about 12 light-hours. Although it's signal is very weak, we can still talk to it a bit. According to this blurb [nasa.gov] , "Flight controllers believe both spacecraft will continue to operate and send back valuable data until at least the year 2020."

Looks like we're still on track for V-GER to become sentient and return to earth in a few centuries.

Re:Voyager is going to keep its record... (5, Informative)

cyclone96 (129449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945620)

does NASA still get anything from them?

Absolutely. Voyagers 1 and 2 are still doing significant work, since they are so distant and still functioning. They have begun to encounter the outer reaches of the solar system, where the influence of the Sun ends and interstellar space begins. NASA believes they recently crossed the termination shock and may be approaching the Heliopause. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliopause [wikipedia.org]

It's going to be a very, very, very long time before another probe gets out as far as the Voyagers are (if Pluto Express lasts that long, at least 20 years). Voyager gets a fairly decent chunk of Deep Space Network tracking time because of the importance of what it is doing.

The oldest satellites still functioning are Pioneers 6,7, and 8, which are all around 40 years old and still ticking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_6,_7,_8_and_9 [wikipedia.org] . They don't get tracked much, however, because the science they are returning has been surpassed by other probes. They've basically become an experiment in how long satellites can still function.

Re:Voyager is going to keep its record... (4, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945544)

That's because Voyager is nuclear powered. Good luck getting the masses to approve shooting up another nuclear power package.

Re:Voyager is going to keep its record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946154)

That's because Voyager is nuclear powered. Good luck getting the masses to approve shooting up another nuclear power package.


New Horizons [nasa.gov] , another nuclear [wikipedia.org] powered spacecraft, was launched to Pluto earlier this year.

You dumb fuck.

Re:Voyager is going to keep its record... (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946292)

That's because Voyager is nuclear powered. Good luck getting the masses to approve shooting up another nuclear power package.

That's the prevalent meme - but the reality is that space based nuclear power has gotten steadily less controversial. The Mars Science Laboratory Rover [nasa.gov] will almost certainly be nuclear powered - and the proposal to do so has drawn nary a peep.

So what's the point in trying to see it, anyway? (0)

Myself (57572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945084)

Okay, trying to take pictures of Beagle 2 was useful, because it could tell us whether the panels unfolded and give hints of the failure mode for consideration in future designs.

But what's the point of trying to take pictures of an orbiting craft? What useful data will we glean, if successful, that would either help restore MGS to functionality or inform future activity?

Re:So what's the point in trying to see it, anyway (0)

dsci (658278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945156)

Perhaps to just know that it is still there and has not been (completely) destroyed. Knowing it is still there might justify continued efforts to contact it.

And sometimes when you lots of dollars and man-centuries invested in something, you just want to know what happened to it.

Re:So what's the point in trying to see it, anyway (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945290)

Being able to see its orientation to know if the antenna and solar panels are still at functional angles. Confirming that it wasn't hit by space debris. Verifying that there's not been a propellant leak that caused it to lose the necessary control. These are all important things too. If you see a bunch of gas jetting off in to space it can give you a good hint that things ain't goin so well.

Re:So what's the point in trying to see it, anyway (4, Interesting)

lindsley (194412) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945758)

Same thing. First, verify it's where it's supposed to be. Second, if the resolution is good enough (and they weren't sure it would be) see if it seems to be oriented correctly.

If it's not where it's supposed to be, then there's a partial explanation of why it's not responding -- it's off course -- and also tells them their options are limited to setting it straight again. If it is, but it's oriented incorrectly, then the batteries are not getting recharged and you focus on getting it oriented correctly so it can get power again. If it is present, oriented correctly, and still not responding, then you've got a different set of options.

More information can only help.

Success! (1, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945134)

Mars Anti Satellite Command (MASC) reports another successful test of the new anti-satellite interceptor.

Zim reference. (-1, Flamebait)

themindfantastic (1025938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945230)

its probing day it seems... now can you give us a puppet show detailing on how you are going to take over your planet? What? Everyone likes puppets except for you it seems INSPECTION FAILED Let the Pummeling BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!

It was probably just slashdotted... (0)

Ixitar (153040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945656)

Give us a URL to it and we will destroy it.
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