Monday, December 29, 2008

Mars Rovers Near Five Years Of Science And Discovery

In these challenging economic times I think it would be good to point out the unforeseen excellent return the American taxpayer has had in the Martian Rovers project. When Spirit and Opportunity touched down in 2004, we were all told three months for each rover was the prime mission plan. Now closing in on the fifth year of the project, I think its safe to say that none predicted the team running the rovers at that time would still be operating both rovers in 2009. That's a 20 times return on the initial investment. Consider that in terms of your family car. Lets say auto makers could guarantee you 100 thousand miles of service without serious malfunctions. That would be a great buy and then to find out that you're still driving it at 2 million miles! Phenomenal!

According to NASA's web page:
  • The rovers have made important discoveries about wet and violent environments on ancient Mars. They also have returned a quarter-million images, driven more than 13 miles, climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, survived dust storms, and relayed more than 36 gigabytes of data via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

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