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Mars NASA Space Science

Final Attempts To Contact Mars Spirit Rover Fail 95

dotancohen writes "After nearly a year of trying to reestablish communications with the Mars Spirit rover, NASA has decided to suspend efforts. Communications channels used to contact the vehicle (redesignated from "rover" to "spot" when it got stuck in a sand trap) will be used to develop a communications base with the next Mars rover: the ambitious Mars Science Laboratory."
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Final Attempts To Contact Mars Spirit Rover Fail

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  • Spirit did well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:30AM (#36239380) Homepage
    Spirit succeeded well beyond the initial planned for mission that was only supposed to last 90 days. This is a real triumph of engineering. The headline shouldn't be about failure but about how this lasted 20 times as long as it was intended. Oh, and of course there's the obligatory xkcd [] . And if you don't tear up a little bit on reading that then you don't have a heart.
  • Re:On the upside (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @12:34PM (#36240268)

    The era of manned exploration of the cosmos is coming to an end, and the era of unmanned exploration is beginning in a serious way. Neil Armstrong is the old face of space exploration; Spirit is the new face. We'll get to Mars eventually but when we do it will be thoroughly mapped and analyzed and studied by robots. It won't fundamentally be exploration, it will be more like tourism. People talk about the shortcomings of robotic exploration, and how humans are more adaptible and versatile. Maybe that's true, if you ignore the incredible logistic hurdles required to support fragile flesh-and-bone hardware on a hostile planet. And maybe it's true that human hands are still better than metal manipulators... but only for now. The reality is that by the time we overcome the technological hurdles required to put humans on Mars, the technology of robots will have advanced. And they'll be able to move, to work, to do science, and to explore far more effectively in those environments than we will ever be able to do.

              And therefore pointless.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...