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Mars NASA Space Science

'Opportunity' Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Roving Mars 51

An anonymous reader writes "Ten years ago today, six and half months after launch, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's six-wheeled, solar-powered Opportunity rover landed on the surface of Mars, tumbling into a previously unknown feature now referred to as the 'Eagle Crater'. Opportunity and its twin Rover Spirit, which had arrived three weeks earlier, proceeded to crawl over and through plains, craters, and sand dunes, collecting and analyzing soil and rock samples, and taking panoramic photos of their surroundings, blowing orders of magnitude past the original projected 90 day mission timeframe. Spirit's mission drew to a close after it became irretrievably bogged down in soft soil in 2009; scientists lost contact with the rover in early 2010. Meanwhile, Opportunity is still going strong, with scientists announcing new evidence this past week of an ancient mild watery environment conducive to microbial life. Several web sites have mined the NASA archives to assemble tributes commemorating 10 years of work from Opportunity: Time,, Information Week/Techweb. There's also a bricks-and-mortar tribute; the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has just opened an exhibit featuring photos sent by the two rovers."
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'Opportunity' Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Roving Mars

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @09:57AM (#46066007)

    NASA has been the preeminent space exploration agency in the whole world for a long time now. Russia and others have sent great probes to Mars, Venus and nearby planets, but NASA has been the only space agency to send probes out of the solar system, to explore Jupiter, Saturn, fly by the Neptune and Uranus, and now sending a mission to Pluto. They've done incredible things with a limited budget. They made the first space telescope, the first Mars rovers, and so much more.

    But given the massive investments China is making in space, and the political turmoils and budget problems going on in the US, I think in 20, 30, years China will have the preeminent space agency instead. Not that that's bad really but they're very strongly motivated, while in the US budgets get yanked around, people don't go into advanced engineering and science much any more, Congress is purely dysfunctional and incompetent, etc.

    We'll see but I think China will become "where it's at" for space exploration in the future. They have longer term vision, stronger "national will", and an increasingly highly educated population.

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