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Spirit is Dying; Long Live Spirit

January 29, 2010
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By now, you have no doubt heard that Spirit, one of the two participants NASA’s eponymous Mars Exploration Rover mission is mired in the Martian regolith, without hope of extraction therefrom. In its eventful life, it transmitted the first high-resolution color photograph taken on the surface of another world (pictured here).

Despite being mostly dry and apparently lifeless,  Mars is the member of our solar system most similar to Earth.  Even with some major setbacks, exploration of Mars has enjoyed remarkable success, much of which is owed to the rovers we launched in 2003.

While it’s a shame to see Spirit trapped and doomed to lose power, it was bound to happen sometime.  And the fleeting sadness over the loss of a mobile, remote-controlled laboratory underscores the importance of unmanned space exploration; when money rather than human life is on the line, the stakes are more bearable.  Below is XKCD’s take on the mission; I am glad we can leave it to artists to personify the rover.

Congratulations and thanks to NASA and its terrifyingly-brilliant JPL for making such enormous contributions to our understanding of another world.

Update: Yowza! Wowza!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. JoJo permalink
    January 29, 2010 1:46 pm

    there’s just no shortage of lawless rocky regions to go shooting unmanned techno-marvels at, is there?

  2. Barry permalink*
    January 29, 2010 3:28 pm

    Nope.

  3. Kari permalink
    January 29, 2010 9:57 pm

    That cartoon is just so sad. I am not going to lie…I shed a tear.

    • Barry permalink*
      January 30, 2010 12:51 pm

      Isn’t it sweet? XKCD is usually pretty funny; I recommend it.

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