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Mars NASA Space Science

NASA Concedes Defeat In Effort To Free Spirit Rover 250

An anonymous reader writes "NASA has conceded defeat in its battle to free the Spirit rover from its Martian sand trap. The vehicle became stuck in soft soil back in May last year and all the efforts to extricate it have failed. NASA says that Spirit, which landed on the Red Planet over six years ago, will 'no longer be a fully mobile robot,' and has instead designated the once-roving scientific explorer a stationary science platform."
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NASA Concedes Defeat In Effort To Free Spirit Rover

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  • by Xeno man ( 1614779 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:12PM (#30909954)
    Like most people on the internet, you have no idea what your talking about. NASA's funding is a fraction of what it was during the Apollo era and is doing things safer and better than ever. You think their are throwing money away at a "digital camera on wheels"? It cost ten times the money to put a man on Mars. You need to feed them, give them an atmosphere to breath to keep them alive, entertained or busy so they don't go crazy, gently land them on the planet unlike the rovers that inflate bags around them, crash into the planet and bounce off the fucker a couple dozen times. There is also that little thing about bringing them back to earth. Also, what do you expect people to do once they get to Mars? Discover life forms? Evolve to superior beings? No, they are going to take rock samples and do what the rovers are doing right now.

    Frankly it would be amazing to put a man on Mars and when it does happen it will be a historic even much like the moon landing but NASA learned a lot from the moon landing and the big one was "Now that were are here, now what?" What is the point of putting people on Mars other than to be the first. They can't do much more than what robots are doing now and the cost doesn't justify the information gained.
  • ya, but.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @06:33PM (#30911060) Homepage Journal

    ...if we had put both of them together..way in the middle of the night into their mission..when no big bosses were around..the intern techs could have had ROBOT FIGHTS ON MARS! ..now, how cool is *that*? And even when they got busted for it, the news would have inspired another generation of young geeks 100 times more than now, leading to..one buhzillion dollars of new funding, thousands more young scientists, etc, just so maybe they could have a chance to goof off with the next generation of the most expensive toys evah. Another example? Nethack on early mainframes...young auto engineers ripping up the closed track in prototypes,,, stuff like that...golf on the moon, and dune buggy rides...if you look at our history, there has to be cool perks for real science and technology to go forward!

    (only half joking, too..)

  • by Hairy1 ( 180056 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:10PM (#30911424) Homepage

    I agreed right up to the point you suggested the Moon as a good training ground. The Moon is far more harsh than Mars. The gravity is lower, with no atmosphere and no water. Mars has an atmosphere of carbon dioxide which with the help of a little water can be turned into methane or methanol which can be used to drive around or lift off from the surface. None of these possibilities exist on the Moon. The Gravity, while still low is much more than the moons. The Moon is a terrible place to waste money on. Mars Direct all the way :)

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @08:40PM (#30912182) Journal

    After billions of taxpayer dollars spent, what do we have with NASA? Nothing but a crappy robot stuck in the sand. Typical government incompetence. The *billions* spend on this mars rover fiasco could easily have been better spent by the private sector, who would have run this project with great speed, cost effectiveness and no doubt better results in every way. When will we ever learn that the private sector is better at space exploration (and everything else, really) than the bloated inefficient union-run government?

    Nice try, but you rather failed in your anti-commercial snark attempt. Spirit and Opportunity (and several other Mars missions) were launched on a commercial Delta II rocket [wikipedia.org]. The project was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is an FFRDC, meaning that unlike any of the other NASA centers (which typically produce far more mediocre work) it's staffed and managed by a non-government entity, in this case the California Institute of Technology. The post-Columbia Aldridge Commission recommended turning the other NASA centers into FFRDCs as it would encourage them to "It would revitalize innovation, work effectively with the private sector, and stimulate local economic development." Of course, this was massively opposed by certain Congressmen whose districts might receive less money under such an arrangement, and so nothing came of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @09:09PM (#30912450)

    So what, pray tell, would have been the advantage of sending a human

    He wouldn't get stuck in the sand?

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.