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Top Ten Discoveries of the Mars Rovers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the martian-winters-are-nippy dept.

Space 176

eldavojohn writes "Space.com brings us the top ten discoveries of the Martian rovers that landed there in 2004. They were expected to last three months but, as Slashdot has covered time and time again, they have lasted over three years. From minor discoveries about the formation of Mars to images of atmospheric phenomena, to final and definitive proof of a Mars with water, these two robots have definitely reserved themselves a place in the history books. Pending a dust storm, they may not even be done with their mission yet."

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top 10 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978033)

10. Martian's don't bleed 9..... Oh crap I gotta get fp

Re:top 10 (-1, Troll)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978075)

OK here are mine

10. There is no life on mars

9. Mars is barren

8. It's friggin cold

7. We can't live there

6. there is no life on mars

5. Red mars was an ok, but slightly dull book.

4. There is no life there

3. Its got lots of radiation

2. no canals

1. No LIFE!!! Stop wasting taxpayer money!!

Re:top 10 (3, Interesting)

andy666 (666062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978107)

Just how much did we spend on the Mars missions compared to research on solar energy or material science ? Or quantum computer research ? (I mean stuff with possible applications) Anyone know ? I bet a helluva lot more for Mars. The NSF's entire Computer science budget was only 600 million a few years ago. How does that compare ? What is the NIH annual budget ? Not trolling, just curious, to put it into perspective. I mean, are these missions basically run just to get funds to some congressperson's district ?

Costs (3, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978293)

In recent years



NIH: $28 billion

NSF $5.5 billion

NASA $16 billion

NSF Math and Physical sciences : 135 million in 2002

NSF CISE (Computer ....) 500 million

Nasa's Spirit probe $820million

Viking missions cost $935 million in 1974[1] or $3.5 billion in 1997 dollars

Re:Costs (1, Offtopic)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978575)

I recall hearing that recycling costs $8 billion a year, as a result of subsidizing the recycling of materials that have a net negative economic impact, because using new materials instead would be cheaper, easier and require less industrial processing to make.

That's actually the case for everything but metals. As Penn and Teller put it, when recycling becomes so efficient that bums on the street will do the sorting, then you'll know it's actually beneficial for society.

Re:Costs (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978927)

Wonder what percentage of /. readers are not American, and think NSF is a bounced cheque? $5.5 billion, wish I could bounce that kind of cheque on some poor sucker... As for the 3 months, that number NASA pulled out of their asses to prevent the appearance of having another expensive failure.

Re:Costs (1)

weorthe (666189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979229)

As for the 3 months, that number NASA pulled out of their asses to prevent the appearance of having another expensive failure.

It was completely appropriate of NASA to base its cost-benefit analyses on a conservative estimation of the working life of the Mars Rovers. There were a lot of unknowns for these missions, and overpromising the benefits before the fact would have been borderline dishonest. Can't you just be glad that the mission succeeded beyond conservative expectations?

Re:Costs (5, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979495)

Iraq War: $1,300 billion

Re:top 10 (2, Insightful)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979163)

Keep in mind that as part of NASA R&D a lot of useful technology gets developed along the way. NASA is very into developing better solar panels and high-tech materials, for example. It's very difficult to measure how much is spent on things that wind up having applications here on Earth compared to those that don't, though.

The other thing, though, is that private industry is somewhat better at funding things with obvious applications than it is at funding things whose primary goal is pure science, because it's a lot easier to get investors to part with their money when there's a chance that they'll get it back some day. So it makes some amount of sense for government to be spending money on pure science, since that's research that simply wouldn't get done otherwise, especially for large things like space exploration which are just out of the reach of the universities that do other pure research.

Re:top 10 (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979217)

You can't forget the top research spender, DARPA.

Re:top 10 (0, Offtopic)

Kagura (843695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979255)

1. Rock
2. Rock
3. Rock
....
9. ????
10. Rock!

Re:top 10 (2, Insightful)

G-funk (22712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979273)

You know, saying "I'm not trolling" doesn't make it so. Of course your post was entirely insightful, and this is definitely the first time somebody's posted "why don't we spend this money on [foo] instead" to a space story on slashdot.

Re:top 10 (3, Informative)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979561)

We spend a LOT more on applied research. NASA is the only one with a rover on Mars but there are many, many people at government labs, universitoies and corporations doing helthcare related work. One interesting study would be to compare NASA's budget to the amount of money we spend in the US in movie tickets, TV reality shows or on new ring tones for cell phones. Actually we as a nation spent more on the ring tones then on mars. Think of all the poor starving kids in Africa that could have been fed if not for the money wasted on ring tones. Actually none of the money NASA spent goes to Mars. All of it goes to pay people who live here on Earth a salary. The money is not "gone", just redistributed.

Re:top 10 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978111)

Shut up, bitch.

Re:top 10 (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978149)

My view on this is that it is cool to know, and you gotta check it out, but if we just wait 50 years it will be a lot cheaper to do, and it won't matter much about the delay. I mean, no one seriously thinks we could go to Mars soon, right ? Except maybe Archimedes Plutonium and Lyndon Larouche and George Bush.

Re:top 10 (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978439)

The whole Apollo program was made in about 10 years, and in the 38 years since we landed on the moon all things electronic have improved with such incredible speed, going to Mars soon should be a piece of cake right? No. Is it because the GHz processors we have are too weak? No. It's because after that huge effort, and a few more missions until people lost interest, the program basicly shut down. Nobody was looking to invent technology to go even further, nobody was looking for rockets to go longer than geosynch orbit, nothing. We can wait another 50 years but that technology won't invent itself. I say the sooner the better, that way it will be cheaper in 50 years because it's been designed, tested and improved. While I don't think Bush is serious and is only using this as a distraction, I think we'd be able if we were willing.

Re:top 10 (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978499)

Well something tells me that electronics can take care of itself - the private sector is doing that very well. As for rocket technology, it just is a different thing. And besides, who needs it ? What people want is not blurry pictures from Mars, but crisp images of episodes of BG on their phones. I think the technology-apollo link was propaganda, or an urban legend. Has any serious study of this ever been done, or is it just stuff everyone "knows about" since they heard it when they were 14 ?

Re:top 10 (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979023)

Raised the bar on telemetry and space communications. Advanced long distance television transmission.

Improved efficiency of fuel cells. Even though development didn't continue

Mylar film. Used as insulation to keep long distance runners warm and emergency shelter for forest fighters.

One of the first users of Velcro.

Space pen. Even though it wasn't designed with NASA funding. Made a good Seinfeld episode.

Re:top 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978583)

You fool. Don't you understand about congressional pork ? This has nothing to do with exploration. NASA makes some lame announcement every week about finding water or some shit, so they can justify all this waste. Look at the numbers - Computer Science gets 3% of NASA's budget.

Re:top 10 (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979553)

>The whole Apollo program was made in
>about 10 years, and in the 38 years
>since we landed on the moon all things
>electronic have improved with such
>incredible speed, going to Mars soon
>should be a piece of cake right? No. Is
>it because the GHz processors we have
>are too weak? No

        A billion times more processor power has no effect because the PROCESSOR POWER IN 1969 was PLENTY ENOUGH. The hard job of landing men on the moon had nearly nothing to do with computers and faster computers don't solve any relevant problems. The hard problems to solve were structural design and propulsion, not algorithms. Propulsion technology- at least propulsion technology useful for manned lunar missions - hasn't advanced one iota since the mid-60's.

To the contrary, all that essentially infinite computer power has brought is C++ or other, more inappropriate languages and associated junk programming - THAT MAKE IT HARDER. In fact, I predict that the biggest issue on return to the moon and even return to capsule Earth-orbital missions will be the flight software - too much to test correctly and innumerable bugs caused by modern "computer science" approaches. Having 6k of RAM and implementing the firmware *on a loom* was sufficiently limiting to prevent the worst of the current bloatware approach to programming. Virtually every current space project of which I am aware has had massive problems with the flight software and database, and it's coincident with trying to use inappropriate programming techniques made possible by faster computers.

        Brett

Re:top 10 (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979727)

I don't think incrimental discoveries will make space travel & living cheap or common. It will require a huge leap in technology, some revolutionary source of compact energy. We're on horseback, but need the locomotive to be invented.
         

Re:top 10 (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978167)

1. No LIFE!!! Stop wasting taxpayer money!!

Yes, lets stop pursuing scientific discoveries and focus our meager resources on invading countries under false pretenses as a proper imperial power should. Books and learning are for hippy surrender monkeys!

Re:top 10 (2, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978325)

Eh... how can we bother with learning anything about foreign cultures when even Space.com can't get the names of Martian landscape right.

"Marwth Vallis Regions"? Anyone else see what's wrong with that?

(Ok, yes, my computer naming convention at work is after the Welsh words for the planets, what's it to you?)

Re:top 10 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978249)

yeah, let's stop wasting tax payer money on keep the poor alive. welfare, food stamps? welcome to my death camp bitches.
 
i'd rather see that money go towards the advancement of knowledge then to fatten up the poor.
 
go fuck yourself cunt. i hope you get a homeless man to shit on your head with food he bought with food stamps.
 
dumb bitch cunt fuckhead. go to hell cunt!

Re:top 10 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978401)

ooohhh...I see sombody hasn't gotten laid recently.

Re:top 10 (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978441)

Who needs sex when you have AC trolls to feed the other AC trolls?

Re:top 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19979621)

Well, obviously you have never had sex before either...

Re:top 10 (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978319)

I assume that your view of archaeologists as well "Old crap from the past, stop wasting taxpayers' money". Or any other form of science that doesn't immidiately lead to direct rewards. It's our closest neighbor, in galactic distances this is like concluding that since there's noone standing on our doorstep and there's nothing interesting there, there's noone out there at all and so there's no point in leaving the house as it'd only be a waste of time and effort. Studying Mars is the second planet we get to study in any detail, any idea how much guesswork is made based on how things happened on earth? In most sciences you'd call a sample size of one "anecdotal", "spurious", "unreproducible" and "statistically insignificant". It's still the best we got, until we are able to study other planets. But I suppose that wouldn't be useful enough for you, it's science after all. Don't you have any desire for discovery or exploration?

Re:top 10 (1)

andy666 (666062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978391)

You should look at the above number. JUST the spirit program cost more than the NSF annual budget. Do archeologists get money from there ? (Are they scientists btw ? ) It is not a matter of not exploring, but reasonably allocating funds. NASA 16 billion and the NSF 5 billion ? That's so crazy. NSF includes math, physics, chemistry, cs, all engineering, SCIENCE EDUCATION. NSF should get way way more.

Re:top 10 (1)

louisadkins (963165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978453)

While I feel the sciences should be getting more money in general, I don't see that as a reason to suggest alternate fields are wastes of monies. I would love to see a significant increase in funds for research in general, including NASA.

Re:top 10 (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978665)

Well the NEA only got about $150 million. Why? cause that's how much they need. It costs alot to get to Mars, so alot was spent. Not many other groups wanted to chip in to defray the costs. NSF doesn't bear the burden of all math,physics,chemistry research alone, there are many other groups that contribute, so the budget is lower. Starving artists work for damn close to nothing, and there are many other contributing groups, so the NEA budget is lower still. It's not a question of useable returns, but what it costs to get the job done. Why would a government that runs as our kind of deficit care about getting return on money spent? They just make/take more.

Re:top 10 (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979237)

'NSF includes math, physics, chemistry, cs, all engineering, SCIENCE EDUCATION. NSF should get way way more'

You make it sound like NSF is the only government source of funding for those things. I have heard that DARPA actually represents the primary source of government funding for research.

Re:top 10 (2, Insightful)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978435)

Of course I want to discover. I am a scientist. But the public is unaware of the resources that NASA gets compared to other disciplines. As was pointed out above NSF Math and Physical Science get 135 million. That is tiny compared to just one of these NASA missions. Don't you think we should support string theory, the study of the big bang and number theory just a little more ?

Re:top 10 (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979275)

'Don't you think we should support string theory, the study of the big bang and number theory just a little more ?'

I don't know. How much does it cost to sit around, examine data gathered from sources like NASA, and theorize all day? Space exploration actually requires developing and utilizing new technologies. That costs money. Besides, NASA is pretty much the only show in town for space exploration. The NSF is one of many government sources of funding for math and physical science.

Re:top 10 (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979311)

I'm not trying to trivialise the importance of math in any way, but it costs a lot more to build shit and fire it into space than it does to build a few supercomputers and sit around thinking about / discussing numbers.

Re:top 10 (3, Insightful)

warrigal (780670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979301)

Your credibility is low.
Mars is not our nearest neighbour. Venus is, and by a fair way too.
A scientist should know this.
This business of "our nearest neighbour" has been spun by the pro-space
lobby to good effect. The fact is that probes sent to Venus are far cheaper.
For a start, they go Sun-ward and enjoy a good gravity-assist.
What? You don't like the weather on Venus? That doesn't justify the "nearest neighbour" myth.

Re:top 10 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978561)

thanks for the advice, cunt. feminist.mom@gmail.com feminist.mom@gmail.com feminist.mom@gmail.com feminist.mom@gmail.com. i hope you get some spam, whore.

Re:top 10 (2, Interesting)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978657)

I am hoping that I get email from you, so I can discuss science. Just what is your field of specialization ?

You're level of meanness is a real detriment to Slashdot, where people try to have serious discussions about science and technology.

I've worked as the director of a condensed matter lab for many years at a large well known institution. My field could use some more money, and I must admit I resent so much of it going to NASA. If your not in a scientific field, it might not be obvious to you how much corruption there is regarding the allocation of funds. Condensed matter physics has many more applications in my eyes then Mars probes.

Oh and btw, I AM a women and I could probably solve more math and physics problems in an evening that you could in a month.

Re:top 10 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978867)

ain't no one who cares who you are. feminist.mom@gmail.com spam spam spam!
ain't no one cares how smart you think you are. feminist.mom@gmail.com spam! spam! spam!
 
damn vikings
 
so shut your cakehole. feminist.mom@gmail.com spam! Spam! SPAM!

Re:top 10 (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979009)

What a freakin' jerk. If it makes any difference, while I don't agree with you that unmanned Mars exploration is a waste of tax payers' money, I don't think you should be attacked or harassed for your opinion. As a token of my support, I won't refer to you as Feminist-MILF (in my mind) for the rest the of the day. =)

OK, that was immature, but at least it wasn't at the same level as that stupid AC.

Re:top 10 (0)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979089)

"I AM a women and I could probably solve more math and physics problems in an evening that you could in a month."

First point: Whooptie F'ing doo! So you're a woman.
Second point: No doubt, as you're likely educated in that field. I'd like to see you strip, clean, rebuild, and calibrate (mechanical, electrical, and thermal) an analytical prober [ebay.com] that's been EOL'd for 5 years (damn I want new equipment). I bet I could do in a day what would take you a month! (only link I could find with pics, not much demand for old crap and if you actually want one you already know what it looks like)

It's all about what you're trained for.
Sorry for the rant, but I work with some brilliant women (and a fair share of block heads as well). If you're that bitter, maybe a more open company would be a good move?
-nB

Re:top 10 (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979355)

It's all about what you're trained for.

Can see now why the discussion went over the head here. Scientists and to a lesser extent Engineers are in the trade of doing new things instead of being trained to operate specific items of equipment designed by other people.

Re:top 10 (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979479)

You should be embarrassed by what you just posted; it's very clear who the 'bitter' one is here.

I'll make this very clear for you:

Condensed matter physics > cleaning boogers off a diesel engine. [ebay.com] Sorry. What you do doesn't even come close. Don't you remember getting hopelessly lost, trying to find the condensed matter physics room in your ITT tech campus? :)

Re:top 10 (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979487)

'I AM a women'

uh huh

'I could probably solve more math and physics problems in an evening that you could in a month.'

Likely. Are you implying that there is some sort of association between the two?

Sorry but you aren't a female, you aren't a 'insert race here', you aren't a 'insert nationality here', you are an individual. You neither get to stand taller due to the achievements of nor spin the failures of other individuals simply because they happen to share a group designator with you.

The thing I personally find most amusing, is that the only valid use of gender as a designator is to classify sex objects. And yet, those who want to be identified first by their gender don't seem to want their sex used to identify them as sex objects notwithstanding the entire biological purpose of having genders and the natural reproductive instincts associated with them.

3 grammatical errors in rant - not professional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19979699)

Regardless of any of the claims you have made, my feeling is that your simplistic and poorly-structured rant implies that you are/were not a director of a condensed matter lab. You may know something about physics, but you are not a professional. I would suggest you either improve your online presence in effort to support your future claims. Frankly, scientists tend to be very detail oriented and would not progress very far via efforts such as yours above. For starters, I wonder if you can identify three grammatical errors in your four sentences above?

I simply doubt your claim based on your ability to express yourself (I strongly suspect that English is your first language).

I invite you to prove me wrong.

Cheers.

Re:top 10 (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978727)

Stop wasting taxpayer money!!

Yeah, we really should get our priorities [costofwar.com] straight.

Re:top 10 (1)

warrigal (780670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979401)

It's not like war and space research are two competing money pits. They are both money pits but money saved on one (or hopefully, both) should be channeled into something more constructive. How about lower taxes for the working stiff? Better roads? Better equipped hospitals, schools, police, fire services? Better infrastructure. Better pollution control. The list of things in this world (or in this country even) that urgently need more money does not include space research or war-making.

Re:top 10 (1)

70Bang (805280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978717)


If I had to pick just one:

1) reread all of the calibrations to verify the ability to land (safely)

Once that is verified, how about a remake of Capricorn One?.

I'll overlook the fact (in CI) conversations are instantaneous (instead of a delay).

This time, leave OJ[1] on Mars and let the other two come back, even if the simulations say it won't happen.

[1]Yes, OJ Simpson. If you haven't watched it, there's no spoiler there because the rest of the statement is explained fairly early in the film.

I wonder what the Dream Team would say about OJ being stranded on Mars and they're trying to file a writs are habeas corpus?

When you're on Mars, _______________

(feel free to fill in the blank.

When you're on Mars.... (1)

cookieinc (975574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979751)

do as the Martians do?

Greatest discovery (4, Interesting)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978035)

That the best publicity comes from making moderately low predictions of success, then when you exceed them you look heroic.

Re:Greatest discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978119)

I predict I can compute 1+1.

17+17=34. OMGz teh Nobel prize is mine!

Re:Greatest discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978407)

I thought this post was pretty good, but I guess you need to match the mods' sense of humor.

Re:Greatest discovery (3, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978491)

Who modded parent 'troll'??? He/she is right: NASA didn't understand publicity too well when they acted like the shuttle was safe enough for a teacher and then they killed her. Now NASA is learning how to do publicity. And in the long run that may be the most important thing because good publicity means more funding.

Re:Greatest discovery (1)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978589)

Troll? For a simple Under promise Over deliver argument. For the record, I don't agree. I think they are engineering marvels.

Re:Greatest discovery (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978675)

Your statements have no relation. They can be engineering marvels & still use the under promise/over deliver. It's actually pretty easy to do while being honest, as well - just have the most pessimistic engineer on any project estimate the time to failure. 90% of the time you'll exceed that.

Re:Greatest discovery (1)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978909)

The point is that I think NASA is marveling. As in, "How the hell did we pull this off". I don't think they meant to under promise. Even the nerds responsible are impressed, despite their "I told you so's".

Re:Greatest discovery (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979651)

That the best publicity comes from making moderately low predictions of success, then when you exceed them you look heroic.

I agree with the "troll" mod. The rovers lasted well because 1) lucky dust devils cleaned the solar panels and 2) because multiple previous problems with Mars missions resulted in NASA doing QA right this time. It is NOT a PR stunt.
     

number (-1, Troll)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978157)

hmm, there were more than 10 discoveries?

sigh... (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978159)

If credit is to be tossed around, anthropomorphizing devices such as these tends to ignore the 'real' people that harnessed imagination and creativity so that 'they' could scuttle around another world.

Why the childish urge to conjure up cute little clanking robots instead of simply patting a fellow human being on the back? ...don't answer that, thanks.

Re:sigh... (3, Insightful)

Aluvus (691449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978631)

The people are many and nebulous. It takes a lot of people to pull something like this off.

By contrast, there are just two rovers on Mars. People know their names.

And they are easy to anthropomorphize. There they are, alone in a harsh landscape far from home. "Surviving" far longer than anyone had expected. And let's face it, they're kind of cute in a way.

The Hubble telescope is a similar situation. For that matter, so are manned launches. It's a lot easier to idolize the handful of astronauts who put their lives in danger than to give the dozens of engineers their due as well. This is a pattern we see all over: ask people to name anyone in a particular band, and you're far more likely to get the singer's name than any other member of the band.

It isn't really fair, but that's just how it goes.

Re:sigh... (5, Funny)

macshit (157376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979077)

Not to mention that the robots are cute, and they clank, whereas the humans are odoriferous bags of meat.

was Re:sigh... now, survivor mars, or, anthropomo (1)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979691)

Perhaps someone can update these lyrics for me:

Rambling Rover
- trad,from Silly Wizard
- chorus: -

Oh there's sober men & plenty
And drunkards barely twenty
There are men of over ninety
That have never yet kissed a girl.
But give me a rambling rover
Fae Orkney down to Dover
We will roam the country over
And together we'll face the world.
I've roamed through all the nations
Ta'en delight in all creation
And I've tried a wee sensation
Where the company did prove kind.
When parting was no pleasure
I've drunk another measure
To the good friends that we treasure
For they always are in our mind.
There's many that feign enjoyment
From merciless employment
Their ambition was this deployment
From the minute they left the school
And they save and scrape and ponder,
While the rest go out and squander
See the world and rove and wander -
And they're happier as a rule.
If you're bent with arthritis
Your bowels have got colitis
You've galloping ballicitus
And you're thinking it's time you died.

If you've been a man of action
While you're lying there in traction
You may gain some satisfaction
Thinking "Jesus, at least I've tried."

Re:sigh... (2, Interesting)

Rayaru (898516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978795)

Here at Cornell we pretty much idolize quite a few of the folks that made the Mars Rovers possible, including Profs. Jim Bell [cornell.edu] and Steve Squyres [wikipedia.org] .

top takeaway (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978303)

Good Photoshop and Wavefront hackers can work miracles with the raw material from the Mojave desert and Roswell NM coming from our photogs.

In light of recent news this reads like... (4, Funny)

denttford (579202) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978347)

Obits for Nerds. Robots that mattered.

Seriously, no band survives the greatest hits album.

Re:In light of recent news this reads like... (1)

srn_test (27835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978425)

Yeah, U2 broke up just after their greatest hits, back in the early 90s.

Oh, wait. :P

Re:In light of recent news this reads like... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978883)

You're saying that Spirit and Opportunity are going to break up? That's like, uh, Captain with no Tenile. Or Steely with no Dan. I bet it was that bitch, Mars Express Orbiter. I never trusted her.

Too bad #1 couldn't have been.... (3, Funny)

imperious_rex (845595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978349)

Dejah Thoris

Re:Too bad #1 couldn't have been.... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978443)

I'd have been willing to settle for Podkayne.

Re:Too bad #1 couldn't have been.... (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978671)

Unfortunately, Pokayne's ended up on Venus. :(

Died there unfortunately (at least, according to the original edit, not the original release). Beautiful Platinum Blonde girls from another planet dying in a nuclear explosion on a Jungle Venus make me a sad panda :(

Wasting Taxpayer Money? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978385)

OK, first of all, almost all of the taxes you've paid for the last 10 years have already been spent several times over so we can Spread Democracy and Freedom.

Secondly, NASA engineers managed to create machines that were able to accurately and consistently navigate the surface of Mars safely and efficiently almost entirely on their own.

If anything, I wish NASA got more taxpayer money.

AC

Re:Wasting Taxpayer Money? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979483)

Or maybe not. Before, NASA got a bunch of money from the government and look what they did with it: they wasted it to take some pictures of self on the moon and then noticed that it's not very healthy there, they built that monstrosity that is called Shuttle and they foremost expanded their bureaucracy to the point where A doesn't know whether B used metric or 'the olden system'. Look at the Russians, the scarcity let them build 'dumb' rockets that did their job and could then be simply dismantled, abandoned or upgraded to use some more advanced tech.

Since NASA didn't have enough money to do it themselves, they basically got together with some other people and said: we need this thing to drive around on the martian surface and do some things, we don't need it to last very long; the answer was some meccano, a circuit board, a camera and a compact flash card powered by a battery and a solar panel (who needs nucular stuff?). Surprise: off-the-shelf consumer products last longer than mil-spec overengineered devices.

Re:Wasting Taxpayer Money? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979677)

Those rovers are some of the furthest-stretching science money ever spent. (Voyager probes deserve a mention also.) Unless you argue that we shouldn't spend any money on science, those bots are a Warren Buffet investment on Mars.
         

Top 10 list and... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978393)

no Mars Face?

Re:Top 10 list and... (1)

MisterBates (880051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979315)

The face was discovered during the Viking 1 mission, oddly, 31 years ago tomorrow (in about fifteen minutes). It wasn't discovered by either of the current rovers.

And a few things they didn't find... (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978411)

A mile long translucent worm or tunnel, Cydonia was built by ancient Martians and alien artifacts buried in the Martian soil.

No thanks to Richard Hoagland.

Here's the list without all the clicks (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19978429)

10 - Opportunity provides tantalizing glimpse of Victoria crater.
  9 - Evidence of volcanic origin for Gusev crater.
  8 - First meteorite identified on another planet.
  7 - Discover of sulfur suggests Mars stink.
  6 - Helps scientists determine that Mars had three distinct geological eras.
  5 - Martian dust devils captured on film.
  4 - First shot of Earth from distant planet.
  3 - Photographs Earth-like clouds on Mars.
  2 - Helps scientists create first atmospheric temperature profile of Mars.
  1 - First definitive evidence that water flowed on mars, including blueberries, hematite, and silica.

Re:Here's the list without all the clicks (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978921)

"7 - Discover of sulfur suggests Mars stink."

Nothing like a stinky Mar to ruin your day.

How many found AFTER the expected mission life? (1)

timothydsears (167111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979097)

OK Mars mavens, here's your chance. If you read the article it is obvious that #10 is recent.
What about the others? This would give an idea of the marginal benefit provided by the extended life of the mission.

Re:How many found AFTER the expected mission life? (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979247)

10 - Opportunity provides tantalizing glimpse of Victoria crater.

Required extended mission, obviously - rovers did not land near the site.

9 - Evidence of volcanic origin for Gusev crater.

Same as above - you may need to travel for a long time to get to the interesting site.

8 - First meteorite identified on another planet.

Required extended mission - you need to find the meteorite.

7 - Discover of sulfur suggests Mars stink.

May not require an extended mission.

6 - Helps scientists determine that Mars had three distinct geological eras.

Most definitely requires an extended mission, and likely to require far more than that to know those eras in detail. Earth geology is not dead yet even though people study rocks for thousands of years.

5 - Martian dust devils captured on film.

Requires an extended mission, unless the dust devil pays you a visit just when and where you landed.

4 - First shot of Earth from distant planet.

Depends on the landing site and the rotation of Mars.

3 - Photographs Earth-like clouds on Mars.

Likely requires an extended mission, unless those clouds are common and can be always seen.

2 - Helps scientists create first atmospheric temperature profile of Mars.

Most definitely requires an extended mission. It will later take thousands of probes spread over the whole planet, and several years, to create the precise, correct thermal profile that the settlers will require.

1 - First definitive evidence that water flowed on mars, including blueberries, hematite, and silica.

May or may not require an extended mission depending on where the samples were collected.

Re:How many found AFTER the expected mission life? (1)

timothydsears (167111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979339)

Thanks, but the question remains open: When were those Mars discoveries actually discovered?
Right away or after the scheduled mission life?

Re:How many found AFTER the expected mission life? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979471)

I think the question, as stated, is of limited value. Many of the discoveries are not of "yes/no" type (except the photo of Earth, for example - you got one and that's all you need.) We still do not know many things about Earth, as a comparison, even though most of us live on the planet. Similarly, it is not possible to say "enough" after you briefly inspected only about 15 sq. miles of a territory that is about the same as Earth (Mars: 144,798,465 km^2 vs. Earth, 148,939,100 km^2, counting only dry land.)

If you review the 10 listed discoveries you will see that all of them beg for more data. Dust devils, for example - they might be a tad important for future missions and colonisation, so we'd better study a lot of them before we can guess how hazardous they are. We don't know the abrasive characteristics of the dust, for example, and what about its static charge while are on the subject? It would really suck to travel all the way to Mars just to be zapped by a 100 kV charged dust cloud. Amounts of water-bearing rocks? I'd say it's super important if humans plan to live there, and you can't send people up there without knowing how much water they can obtain from minerals that they can access. Sulfur? Might be a part of a chemical process, and it might be a hazard, then spacesuits must be tested against it (sulfur is chemically active.) You need to know that before you send people; and you also need to know if the sulfur is a local quirk (a volcano?) or it is a common ingredient of the whole planet. And so on. There is study after study after study to be carried out by such robots until we even can say what materials we can reliably depend upon to make fuel for the return of the manned expedition. Otherwise it would be an unpleasant surprise to send machines for rock A and upon landing to discover that only rock B, completely different in every aspect, is present at the site.

Re:How many found AFTER the expected mission life? (1)

timothydsears (167111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979543)

I think the question, as stated, is of limited value.
I would have thought the opportunity to trot out arcane,
otherwise useless knowledge on /. would be regarded as being of the highest value.

More seriously, if indeed the list represents the "What" of the mission, a strong assumption I would agree,
I am simply asking "When?".

Can we learn fast or do these missions indeed require a long life?

Re:Here's the list without all the clicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19979377)

"A tantalizing glimpse of Victoria's crater" -- is it nestled a few miles south of Victoria's Peaks, in the Canyon of Victoria's Secret?

Re:Here's the list without all the clicks (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979567)

What, no "Profit" step? Mars ain't fit for slashdot.

       

Re:Here's the list without all the clicks (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979705)

x) ???

is always required before:

x+1) profit!!!

ASCII Version of list (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979619)

10 - O crater
9 - .../ \... volcanic
8 - ...*... meteor
7 - ~~~ stink
6 - A..B..C three eras
5 - ...//... dust devils
4 - [ . ] Earth from mars
3 - o@o clouds
2 - ~!~ atmospheric profile
1 - H2O water history

I think the 2 neatests things from a spectator's viewpoint were the dust devil movies and the spherical blueberries. Burn's Cliff was also cool.
         

This is cool stuff (4, Interesting)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978433)

Honestly, this has got to be one of the coolest things in a very long time for NASA. Not only has their multi-million project blown away the three-month lifespan, but the amount of data being recorded has got to be making those NASA scientists and the scientific community cream in their pants on a regular basis. We can learn with greater detail how planets and the galaxies are created, and begin to develop a very crude technical draft for mars colonization. The more data we take, the better the chances that, while probably not in our lifetime, soon enough the first stage of extraterrestrial colonization can be planned and executed. Great stuff!!!

Scientific Speculation (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979179)

...making those NASA scientists and the scientific community cream in their pants...

Certain scientific speculation may have its merits, but I could do without this kind!

Re:This is cool stuff (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979191)

I have to agree, it is one of the most successful missions in NASA's history, yet it brings me back to that notion that if you just let robots do the work, nobody cares: funding continues to shrink etc.. I mean how many people out there in the world really even know these little rovers are still working on mars? How many care?

No, It's pointless. (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979295)

Even if we decided to colonize space, we're all going to die anyway because of the thermal death of the universe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death [wikipedia.org]

So why bother?

I just wish we could find a planet where it is written "We apologize for the inconvenience"...

Blue links on orange... ouch ! (1)

kyashan (919683) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978553)

Must add the "don't bring blue suits on Mars" discovery to the list.

Re:Blue links on orange... ouch ! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979739)

That's Martian motif. You are offending the local's. Can't take slashdotters anywhere.

Missing from the list... (5, Funny)

ZiggyStardust1984 (1099525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978569)

Decepticons!

Re:Missing from the list... (3, Funny)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978991)

Also missing [allposters.com] .

Re:Missing from the list... (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979245)

For the record, Beagle 2 [wikipedia.org] was not a rover. Seriously why couldn't they have just said the Beagle 2 lander, or Beagle 2 probe. . .

Re:Missing from the list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19979545)

And do you really think that are natural sand storms that are keeping the rover to get into that crater? :p

Where's Transformer? (1)

yopie (470181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19978857)

No discovery of Decepticons?

The last mission of the rovers... (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19979771)

...should be to hunt down and kill whoever laid out that page for space.com.

Putting the article text in a six line scroll box while 95% of the page is ads or blank should be an offense punishable by being skinned alive.
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