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An average American that has some thoughts on politics, culture, and society with a conservative and Catholic twist.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Meanwhile Way Out There On Mars

Nasa is still kicking it. From the Washington Post

When the Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit reached their distant destination in early 2004, NASA scientists hoped the vehicles would probe the planet's frigid landscape for 90 days before they pooped out or were undone by the harsh Martian environment.
More than 900 days later, however, both robotic explorers are going strong-- and Opportunity is on the cusp of what is likely to be its greatest accomplishment.
After enduring an 18-month trek through rugged terrain, dust devils and daily temperature swings approaching 200 degrees, the rover is scheduled to arrive today within easy lens view of a deep and geologically revealing crater. By tomorrow, if all goes well, the little robot that could will be right at Victoria Crater's edge and in position to peer inside and send back images like none seen before.
"Exploring Victoria is something we joked and fantasized about but never really thought we could realistically get to it," said Steven Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the rovers' science instruments. "This is the absolutely highest-priority destination we could have reached."
The reason is that Victoria is an impact crater about 200 feet deep and half a mile wide, with sheer cliffs and layers upon layers of exposed rock. Before Victoria, the deepest crater the rover visited was Endurance, which is a mere 23 feet deep.
The scientists think Victoria Crater is the kind of geological formation that can tell them a great deal about Mars's history, and especially about whether and when water may have covered parts of the planet. Water is essential for life as we know it
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To awesome. I wish we would hear about things like this a bit more.

The Nasa Page to keep up todate on this mission is here. Great pics and resources.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

That's cool stuff--Mars pictures are awesome. Did you see that one where the rover wheel got stuck and was tearing up the soil? I felt bad about that. Otherwise, such a pristine planet. I hope they find water there.

11:30 AM  

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