21 April, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: R Stands For: Rovers

Specifically, Spirit and Opportunity.

Artist's rendering of a Mars Exploration Rover.Image via Wikipedia

Spirit made a successful landing on January 4th, 2004, and Opportunity landed January 25th. So far, Opportunity has been functioning 25 times longer than originally planned. It is currently heading for the Endeavor crater.

(Opportunity. SOURCE)

Spirit on the other hand stopped communicating with Earth March 22nd 2010, although NASA is now trying other ways of communication in hopes the rover will wake from hibernation as its batteries charge from the Martian summer.

Both rovers discovered evidence that could indicate water used to be on Mars. Spirit found crystallized minerals in magma, possibly dissolved by water, along with a high concentration of salt in the soil. Opportunity found bedrock formations that form because of a current, along with hydroxide ions in jarosite, which could mean the mineral formed in the presence of water.

(Spirit's first image. SOURCE)

Hopefully, Spirit will communicate again with Earth and begin exploring Mars again. But even if it doesn't--it went far beyond its expected time--the rover made some important discoveries, as did its twin.




Do you think there's a chance Spirit will come out of hibernation?

-----The Golden Eagle
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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The photos are just amazing, aren't they?

Lauracea said...

I somehow imagine little green men in a lab taking Spirit apart, saying, "Those Earthlings! Doesn't it make you want to bust a gut at how dumb they are? Haven't laughed so much since they sent a dog into space."

Sorry - I couldn't resist. I wish the Rovers would send a few more pictures back for us to see.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww they remind me of Wall-E!!!!

But they do a great job - look at these fab pics!!

Let's hope Spirit speaks to us again! Take care

Heather said...

Many of your A-Z posts have helped me with research for my steampunk novel. It's like we're on the same wave length! LOL! THanks!

Donea Lee said...

What they capture is just so fascinating... and, yes. I hope Spirit wakes up soon!

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: They are!

Lauracea: LOL. I wouldn't be surprised if aliens took apart our technology and had a laugh at how pathetic is compared to theirs.

Me, too.

Old Kitty: Wall-E does seem a bit like a rover, doesn't he?

Let's hope!

Heather: I'm glad you find them helpful! You're very welcome. :)

Donea: It would be awesome of it did.

Susan Kane said...

I so enjoy your posts. We are science geeks, and have followed space develops since the first Star Trek caught us as teenagers.
Thanks for your great posts.

the writing pad said...

I didn't know about Spirit snoozing in space - amazing that it could just 'wake up' again, and carry on sending info back! I know it's not quite the same thing, but I was intrigued to see robots being sent in to check the nuclear reactors in Japan.... Seems like a good idea?
Thanks for lovely pics and a great R post

Michael Di Gesu said...

They are amazing photos...

I think anything is possible.

Theresa Milstein said...

I watched a documentary or long news report about Sprit, which I found fascinating. And the photos were amazing.

Old Kitty, I loved Wall-E!

Brian said...

Those things are so cool! The only Rovers I met were dogs!

Emily Rose said...

It's so incredible what they can do.

Arlee Bird said...

....and if it came back out of hibernation might it somehow develop into an intelligent machine based life form. Perhaps it will connect with other renegade robots and organize a rebellion against humanity. Gadzooks! Could the real life Transformers be getting ready to invade us!!!!!

Tossing It Out

Donna Weaver said...

I love all the space science. People often begrudge the money we've spent on the space program, but we've received SO much from the technological advances that have been used in things other than the space program.

Nice post!

Alleged Author said...

I hope so! There is so much to be learned from the rovers!

The Words Crafter said...

Wouldn't it be cool if one day, we really could visit or live on another planet?

The pics are amazing!

Have a great weekend :)

laughingwolf said...

superb, ge :)

i posted about mars, a bit ago...

Ann said...

The photos are amazing, just amazing. I think poor Spirit needs a rest, it has worked very hard.

Patricia A. Timms said...

I love the space programs. I'm hoping this rover is doing what the rover in the cartoon Planet 51 is doing: picking up rocks and ignoring alien life. Haha! That was the best.

Seriously though, more than anything I hate to see cuts in the space programs. I hope for giant leaps in discoveries.

Milo James Fowler said...

To echo what Old Kitty said: Wall-E! =] Distant planets fascinate me, but I doubt I'll ever get to visit -- in this lifetime.

Liz P said...

Awesome. I love how the Mars sky is even orangey. Space exploration is so fascinating and exciting. :)

Shelley said...

As soon as I saw the first picture, I instantly thought of Wall.E! I don't know why, it just reminds me of him! :) Space is so interesting, and the fact that they can do all this cool stuff with technology just amazes me!

Josh Hoyt said...

This is something that I actually knew about. It is so interesting to think about how much more information they have gathered and what they have done.

Pearson Report said...
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Pearson Report said...
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Pearson Report said...

Yes, I think Spirit will come out of hibernation. I like to be the eternal optimist with these little machines - they take on a "real" life and as such I like to think that there is a little something more than machinery working in their favour.

Here's hoping...

Great post - I'm glad you picked this topic for "R" - I like anything to do with Mars and the research around it.


Duncan D. Horne said...

I really don't know? I wonder if the world will really care about what's going on on Mars?

It's all very interesting this planetary exploration but it really is in the early stages and will not impact us in our lifetime.

Thanks for another informative post!

Duncan In Kuantan

Jules said...

I think Spirit does not want to phone home. It's at a martian toga party having too much fun :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Chris K. said...

I'm not sure if spirit will wake up again, but I give my own thoughts on Spirit and the xkcd cartoon about her over here.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: Anytime--I really enjoy putting these posts together. :)

I've never seen Star Trek. I suppose I should remedy that sometime?

Karla: It was pretty amazing about the robots going into the power plant--did you see the footage?

Thank you!

Michael: It's so cool to be able to see the surface of Mars, and the actual features at that kind of range--not just from a satellite.

With technology as it is, many things are!

Theresa: It's fascinating to learn about projects like these, and what they're doing so many miles from Earth.

Brian: LOL. Same here. ;)

Arlee: Ha! Sounds like the movie of I, Robot, supposedly based on the book by Isaac Asimov (I thought it was too thriller-ized) when robots rise up and start attacking people. :P

Donna: I agree! There are benefits to be had (and significant ones) from space research.

Thank you!

Alleged: Exactly. :)

The Words Crafter: Definitely! I'd volunteer if they announced a new planet was found and open for inhabitants. :D

You too!

Laughingwolf: Thank you!

I remember that post, I believe.

Ann: They are!

LOL. It has been working hard, out there on Mars!

The Golden Eagle said...

Patricia: LOL. Can you imagine Spirit's thoughts if it did that? "Oh, look, an alien! It's red! And it's looking at me! But there's a fascinating rock over there, and I'd better examine that so I can send it back to the humans on Earth!"

I don't like seeing cuts, either. And now they're slashing everything. :(

(But I get that deficit reduction is a must an all that. It's just . . . NASA? Now?)

Milo: LOL.

Maybe in a few hundred years?

Liz: It is fascinating the way it's orange like that, isn't it?

Definitely. :)

Shelley: It seems Wall-E is the character to mention when it comes to rovers . . . LOL. I've never actually seen Wall-E.

Josh: It is!

Jenny: There's something just so . . . alive about them. They move, they collect samples, there's even something cute about them. :P

Thank you! Mars research intrigues me, too.

Duncan: I would disagree with you there--I do think what happens on Mars is of relevant interest of people living today.

You're very welcome! I had fun with this post. :)

Jules: And then, of course, Opportunity will want in on the action and stop broadcasting so it can join in. ;)

Chris: I will have to check that out!

Beverly Diehl said...

I'm cheering for Spirit to wake up, even if it is playing Sleeping Beauty now.

Always thought these were so adorable; I so want the Matchbox car verson of these they did, back in the day.

The Golden Eagle said...

Me, too. :)

LOL. They are cute!