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Mars NASA Space Science

Mars Rovers Moving After Winter Hibernation 82

Posted by Zonk
from the kicking-the-dust-off dept.
jcasman writes to mention an article at Astronomy.com discussing the now on-the-move Mars rovers, which have been effectively in hibernation over the long Martian winter. Spirit has been stationary in the Columbia Hills area, just barely powered up and taking the finest panoramic shot of the planet to date. On the other side of the world, Opportunity has been skulking around the Victoria crater. Scientists have been getting to know the area before attempting to send Opportunity into the geographical feature itself. "Opportunity now is traversing Victoria's rim, and mission scientists are naming features they find after places visited by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew during the first circumnavigation of Earth. (Victoria Crater itself is named after the lone ship that completed Magellan's quest.) [Steve Squyres of Cornell University] and his team are committed to driving Opportunity into the crater eventually, if they're sure the rover will be safe -- in other words, that they can get it out again. Squyres is confident they can, and he thinks it will be sooner rather than later."
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Mars Rovers Moving After Winter Hibernation

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  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:07PM (#18381179) Homepage
    jcasman writes to mention an article at Astronomy.com discussing the now on-the-move Mars rovers, which have been effectively in hibernation over the long Martian winter.

    I knew it. This is just more evidence of the vast bear conspiracy that's mauling our government from the inside out.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:14PM (#18381233) Homepage Journal
    Thanks, Slashdot.

    Opportunity has been skulking around the Victoria crater.

    Opportunity now is traversing Victoria's rim, ... ... driving Opportunity into the crater ... ... they can get it out again
    You just made my Friday.
    • by regularstranger (1074000) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:22PM (#18381301)
      You know you're a nerd when you use an interplanetary probe to investigate your lady.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Gives a whole new meaning to exploring "Heavenly Bodies"...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tablizer (95088)
        You know you're a nerd when you use an interplanetary probe to investigate your lady.

        Double nerdpoints if it feels better than live touching.
               
    • by robgue (829997)
      "Opportunity now is traversing Victoria's rim, and mission scientists are naming features they find after places visited by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew during the first circumnavigation of Earth. (Victoria Crater itself is named after the lone ship that completed Magellan's quest.) Magellan ruled out Victoria Piehole, Victoria Analcherry and Victoria CowboyNeal before deciding on the latter.
    • by geschild (43455)

      Thanks, L Vegas.

      "You just made my Friday."
      And you just made my weekend...

      The mars rovers produce imagery so vivid, I think I can touch it! :P
  • by mattkime (8466) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:16PM (#18381263)
    >>Opportunity now is traversing Victoria's rim

    anyone else find that strangely erotic?
  • by dedazo (737510) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:24PM (#18381317) Journal
    ... that after the first attempt to move the rover without success, they pointed the camera down and realized that the little guy was propped up on four cinder blocks...
    • by StarkRG (888216)
      They called MAA (Mars Automobile Association), and they told them they'd be there between an hour and an hour and a half. Two hours later the tow-rover arrived, but the scientists realized that they'd left their membership card at home, which was several million miles away. Bummer. And besides, they'd already used their three visit limit after they locked their keys in the rover several times.
  • McMurdo Panorama (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:40PM (#18381463)
    Here's that finest panoramic shot in Quicktime VR format: http://www.fotoausflug.de/en-mars.html [fotoausflug.de]
  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:40PM (#18381465)
    Leeme alone! It's too early to get up yet!
  • Is it just me or does it look like there is a mining raod leading to a city in the background of the pictures?
    • I was wondering what that groove (road) was myself. When stuck in Tyrone, you can see two Rover wheel tracks. But in the last panorama, only one - maybe spirit was so happy after getting unstuck, it started celebrating by playing some Snoop Dog and flipping the switches to ride on one side.
    • That is a mining road. That thing's not really on mars. I stumbled accross it one day while hiking in the desert. I wrote some graffiti on it, that's why the none of the pictures show the rover itself. It's the same place they faked the moon landings.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        thats a load off,.. For a minute there I was thinking that a mobile science lab was set up by the martian population to investigate what the rover was doing while in it's hibernation. I was afraid it powered down, the martion set up cammand post alpha and we were about to see first hand what a martian probe really looked like
  • by cyberbob2351 (1075435) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:58PM (#18381597) Homepage
    Man's first words on another world:

    That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

    Machine's

    Hello world.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      Machine's [first words]: Hello World

      More likely: Error in updater. Press 'C' to continue: __
         
    • by abshnasko (981657)
      Sorry to nitpick, but it was: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"
      • If I recall correctly, thats what he was supposedly supposed to say, but he goofed.
        • and If I also recall correctly, recent review of the tapes suggested that he did in fact say it correctly, but there was some kind of error in transmission.
        • Actually, he meant to say, "That's one giant leap for a man, but one small step for mankind" I read the "leap" to mean leaping from the earth to the moon, and the "small step for mankind" as indicating that he foresaw us traveling much further in space.
  • by bluemonq (812827) * on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:07PM (#18381667)
    I can only get my XP Pro to wake up out of hibernate mode about 30% of the time...
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      I can only get my XP Pro to wake up out of hibernate mode about 30% of the time...

      Just type "install linux" and it will be up and going in no time.
           
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
        (C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

        C:\Documents and Settings\anonymous coward>install linux
        'install' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
        operable program or batch file.

        C:\Documents and Settings\anonymous coward>
        Hmm, do i have to download some additional updates or patches first? It doesn't seem to be in the default install.
  • Rovin' (Score:2, Funny)

    by deejaymaxx (253408)
    They see me rollin
    They hatin'
  • Too Cautious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:10PM (#18381717) Homepage Journal
    I don't know why they are so cautious about going into Victoria crater. The bot is already on borrowed time and they've been thru the process with Endurance crater. The crater walls look similar to Endurance's. Go for it, people. So what if there is a risk of not getting out; there is not much around besides the crater anyhow unless you drive another 7 miles or so. If you wait too long the bot will bust before you ever drill a single wall/rock in that crater.
    • Re:Too Cautious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday March 16, 2007 @08:35PM (#18382253) Homepage
      Because short of finding life on Mars, the rovers are more important than exploring yet another crater. Every so often the press lacks a good article, and they end up giving NASA some good press, "birthdays", going into hibernation, coming out of hibernation, anything. Right now milking that record for everything it's worth is probably the smartest thing they can do. After all, they must have run out of primary targets, secondary targets and tertiary targets by now, they're just making it up as they go along. They can cruise along the flattest plains they can find until something eventually breaks, and it'll still be a huge success. "Mars rovers record run over because NASA drove it stuck in a crater" is just about the only "WTF can't you do this right?" mistake they can make at this point.
      • Re:Too Cautious (Score:4, Informative)

        by WalksOnDirt (704461) on Friday March 16, 2007 @09:04PM (#18382437)
        Victoria isn't just "yet another crater". There are no other reachable opportunities that are close to as interesting.

        I'm pretty sure I saw a quote a while back saying they would go in even if they didn't think the rover could get back out, as long as they thought it would still be operational after the descent. They do want to examine the rim first, since they may well not get another chance, and they need to find a safe way down.
        • by Tablizer (95088)
          Victoria isn't just "yet another crater". There are no other reachable opportunities that are close to as interesting.

          Plus it is the deepest crater that Opportunity has yet to investigate. It may reveal layers older than anything yet seen and thus is perhaps the biggest scientific target oppy has encountered so far.

          They do want to examine the rim first, since they may well not get another chance

          But what is so important about the rim? The real scientific pay-dirt would probably come from drilling the cra
          • Rushing in precipitously would have endangered the rover and lost the easily available data about the rim. The rim of the crater is not exactly like the surrounding plains, and I'm sure there is some interest in the situation there.

            Spending too long checking out the rim and descent routes runs the risk of the rover failing before it gets to the good stuff.

            Somewhere in between there must be a happy medium. If were up to me I'd probably opt to go faster, but I trust their judgment much more than mine.
            • by Tablizer (95088)
              Rushing in precipitously would have endangered the rover and lost the easily available data about the rim. The rim of the crater is not exactly like the surrounding plains, and I'm sure there is some interest in the situation there.

              There may be, but inside seems to be where one is more likely to find evidence of the oldest layers. Plus, the rover is fairly likely to be able to get back out; and it has already explored the rim to a fair extent. Go for the buffalo first, and get the rabbits later.
        • and they need to find a safe way down.

          Many of the slopes they already investigated don't look noticably steeper than those used in Endurance[1], and slippage was well within tolerance in Endurance. (It did have big slippage problems on some of the Endurance banks it was investigating, but not entry/exit.)

          [1] I haven't formally measured, I should point out.
                       
    • by Shadowlore (10860)
      The bot is already on borrowed time and they've been thru the process with Endurance crater.

      So in your opinion your car/truck is on borrowed time when it runs out of warranty? After all that's a pretty fair comparison. Nobody on the rover teams said the rovers wouldn't keep working, they only planned on a mission duration. The automakers don't say your car will drop dead after three years or 36000 miles; that's just the duration they plan to "support" it. And like the rover teams' extension, most if not al
  • Whatver happens it'll be ok, they have a backup rover: MarsRover2.jpg [pipex.com]

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