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Mars NASA Space Science

Mars Rover Opportunity Sets Longevity Record 61

s31523 writes "The Mars rover Opportunity has beaten the original record of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of Mars, originally set by the Viking 1 Lander. While the Spirit rover has been on the surface longer than the Opportunity by three weeks, it has been out of communication since March 22. If Spirit comes back online, it will attain the new Martian surface longevity record. This feat, right on the heels of another longevity feat (Voyager 2 and twin on the verge of entering interstellar space and still kicking) is healing some of NASA's past black eyes. It is quite remarkable given original spec of 90 days for the mission. With the passing of the solstice, warmer temperatures and more sun will likely mean the rover will continue on."
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Mars Rover Opportunity Sets Longevity Record

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  • JPL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poly_pusher ( 1004145 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:50PM (#32298706)
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

    This success is due to Nasa's JPL or Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The successes they have had over the past decade are astounding. I see this as more proof that remote missions are more practical in the short term as opposed to manned missions. Just give JPL some more money and let them do their thing. These are the guys that will discover what we need to know, so as to make manned spaceflight practical.

    As a side note, I saw a documentary on spirit and opportunity recently. It was one of the most entertaining and surprisingly dramatic documentaries I have seen.

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/welcome-mars/ [topdocumentaryfilms.com]
  • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:57PM (#32299704)

    Well, that's part of it. Just ignore the cleaning events and other factors. They probably figured on 3-sigma dust accumulation rates. That means that 99.73% of the time it's going to be less than that. Meaning that they could launch 1000 of them, and you would expect that 3 of them would run out of power in 90 days. So it is not in any way surprising that they didn't get excess dust accumulation.

        Same thing with everything else. All the .9973 from every identified part/subassembly multipled together is total reliability, and so it's not in any way surprising that these things generally last *much much longer* than the specified mission duration.

        This sort of analysis, of course, presupposes that statistically significant measures are applicable. For one-off or very short-run parts, of course there are no statistics so the methodology can tend to the bullshit end of the plausibility scale.


Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.