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Energizer Bunny Would be Envious

We still have two functional Rovers on Mars, though media coverage is pretty much non-existent at this point, unless you know where to look for it. CNN is reporting that the rovers are on a new mission due to their extended longevity in the Martian environment. NASA has been given the go ahead to put the Opportunity Rover on a mission of no return (within a mission of no return) by having the rover enter the 'Endurance' Crater.

There are a number of tantalizing targets of study inside the crater, including a rock called Karetepe. But mission scientists say they're still deciding whether to risk a trip inside. Engineers have been conducting experiments in a test bed facility at the Jet Propulsion Lab to see how steep a slope the rover can climb on sandy and rocky surfaces.

"If we go in, there is a possibility, independent of how much testing we do, that we might not come out," Wallace said. "So the risk/benefit equation is still being worked. We're spending a lot of time talking about it, and hopefully that will converge and we'll end up making a decision."

A needed link for most of the news is the Mars Exploration Rover Home page.

In other news John Kerry is protesting the US illegal occupation of Mars and offers a plan to hasten our withdrawal.

Comments (4)

I keep the Mars link on my ... (Below threshold)

I keep the Mars link on my portal page at work. I like to check the progress every few days. It's amazing to see pictures of such clarity from the surface of another planet.

He doesn't disagree with th... (Below threshold)

He doesn't disagree with the mission to Mars, just how it was carried out. feh...

Engineers have been cond... (Below threshold)

Engineers have been conducting experiments in a test bed facility at the Jet Propulsion Lab to see how steep a slope the rover can climb on sandy and rocky surfaces.

WTF? Didn't they do that a year ago??????

Exhaustive testing for ever... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

Exhaustive testing for every contingency is not feasible. I'm sure they tested to rovers to specification, but now that they have a specific situation where they want to be able to get the rover back out of the crater, they will see how far the can push it beyond spec, or try various alternate approaches, like using the digging tool as a climbing tool.

Earlier on the Spirit had problems because the longest test was something like 9 days, and after 18, (I probably got the number of days wrong) the flash memory got too full and caused problems. You can only do exhaustive testing if you have all the time and money in the world, which NASA does not have.






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