Riding with Robots
writes "The robotic geologist Opportunity has nearly reached the rim of Victoria Crater, which it is leaving after a year of exploration inside. Rover handlers decided to abandon attempts to approach the crater's cliff walls when they saw a power spike similar to the one that preceded a broken wheel on its twin, Spirit. Opportunity is already making do with a stuck robotic arm. The mission's manager said, 'Both rovers show signs of aging, but they are both still capable of exciting exploration and scientific discovery.' Opportunity is set to continue trekking across the Meridiani Plains of Mars, even though its wheels have already seen 10 times the use they were designed for. Meanwhile, Spirit has survived yet another harsh Martian winter to produce another striking panorama."
notes other Mars-related news that funding has been approved for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG) Project
. The project was one of 15 selected to receive funds
through a NASA research opportunity program. The stated goal of the proposal
is to "develop a PCR
detector for in situ analysis on other planets, most immediately, Mars. This instrument is so sensitive it should allow the detection very low levels of microbial life on Mars, and will determine its phylogenetic position by analysis of the DNA sequence of the genes detected in situ."