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Mars and Saturn

September 4th, 2005


Remember the Mars Rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, which landed on Mars in January of 2004, and were only supposed to last 90 days? They were not expected to survive the cold and the dust of Mars for longer than three months, but the engineers apparently built them a hell of a lot tougher than anyone expected. One year and nine months later, they’re still going strong. Engineers usually over-engineer any given project, giving what they build an extra margin of safety–but these rovers are now exceeding seven times their expected lifetimes! Both of them. That is no small feat by anyone’s reckoning.

if you want to see the images they’re still churning out, including Spirit’s magnificent panorama from the vantage point on top of Husband Hill, check out their multimedia page.

Meanwhile, the Cassini probe continues on schedule to send back amazing images from Saturn. Picture below is a view of Saturn’s moons Dione and Rhea; the double line cutting through them is an edge-on view of Saturn’s rings, with the moons visible behind them. It’s practically straight out of Star Wars. For Saturn photos regularly returned from Cassini, visit that probe’s multimedia page.


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  1. Anonymous
    September 4th, 2005 at 11:23 | #1

    The Mars Rovers are full of Actel Chips you know!

  2. BlogD
    September 4th, 2005 at 11:48 | #2

    Yes, I know that, Mr. Mystery Man!

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