Friday, March 15, 2013

Video Del Fuego, Part LIX

A while back, a friend sent me a link to a really great video recap of the MER-A rover, Spirit, and its journey to Mars. It's exceptionally well-made, and covers all the fiddly bits they had to get right before they could go for a drive.

Now, you may ask why they didn't do it that way for the new rover, Curiosity. There were a number of reasons, most of them dealing with the fact that Curiosity weighs just under a ton. Getting a ton of moving parts to Mars in one piece was ... interesting.

Sadly, Spirit got stuck in 2010, and hasn't been heard from since. But its twin, Opportunity, is still in working order, and still returning useful data. The original two rovers had been planned to last for a 90-day mission. So far, Opportunity has lasted 35 times longer than that. With that track record, it's a good bet that Curiosity should last long enough to exhaust its RTG power supply, giving us pictures and data from the Martian surface for years to come.

UPDATE: This last week, NASA announced that while they haven't found life on Mars yet, they have found that once upon a time, Mars had all the right conditions. Not only that, this proves that all the essential materials are still there.

No comments: