Spirit And Opportunity – A Tale Of 2 Mars Rovers

Spirit And Opportunity – A Tale Of 2 Mars Rovers

November 7, 2019 1 By William Hollis


green board greenville cream 54321 engine start and liftoff of the Delta two rocket carrying the spirit from birth to planet mars three two main engine start zero and liftoff of the Delta rocket with opportunity a chance to explore and unlock the secrets of our neighboring planet alright the two landing sites are very different and we’ve used the two vehicles very differently since we arrived there opportunities land in sight is smooth and flat and drive for miles it’s all very easy Spirits landing site is very rugged very rocky moving around as much more difficult a spirits landing site is at a higher latitude so the winners are much more severe and so coaxing that vehicle through a cold dark Martian winter is is is a much tougher job minutes for opportunity now they are well-named opportunity really has been incredibly opportunistic and lucky it basically found water from it slander it’s been able to do all kinds of things because it was lucky like being able to drive into these craters I found its own heat shield we were able to examine for the first time a heat shield it was used on another planet because it happened to land nearby spirit really has had to have a lot of spirit to to keep going it’s been the little Rover that could in a way it had to work very hard for all of its discoveries these are phenomenal vehicles so well engineered and designed and built that they’ve been able to last but they’ve been able to do this very challenging dangerous exploration of the surface I mean they are very much intrepid explorers you know are proxies on the surface of Mars you know going forth to explore this hostel and alien world Mars is a nasty place and one of the things that Mars does is every so often blows up into a global vestal our third summer on Mars it happened storm went global you know block out the sky if you were sitting at the surface of Mars where we’re opportunity was the amount of direct sunlight hitting the solar panels was less than 1% of what it would be with a clear atmosphere you can barely tell where the Sun was in the sky this is a very scary thing if you are solar-powered vehicle obviously and yeah it was it was this kind of helpless feeling you’re sitting there and Mars is doing what it does and it’s no you sit there feeling like the planets trying to kill our Rovers and we had this very challenging job of managing this this tiny amount of power that we had on board the vehicle the bad wheel on spirit has been both the curse and as it turns out a blessing the first part is obvious it’s very hard to drive that vehicle now and spirits it’s pretty tough terrain anyway and now you dragons den wheel through the dirt of you know 10 meters is a really good day for spirit these days but it had a wonderful silver lining these trenches that she would that she was digging that just cuts off naturally happen by dragging a wheel through the dirt have these bright patches at the bottom some of those patches turn out to have a hot very high like ninety percent silica content and the way you get a high ninety percent silica content is lots of water activity so by dragging spirits broken wheel around she actually turned up some of the best evidence we found of water on either vehicle so far on Mars get the victoria was great i mean it was 21 months of trudging endlessly across these Plains and hardly seeing the scenery change at all and then one they were right at the at the rim of it there’s just this spectacular scenery is fabulous geology laid out in front of us sent ya the combination of just what a glorious view it was plus how so much effort that went into getting hair pulling up to the rim of victoria was to me one of the really special moments in the whole mission how do I feel about the fact that is going on for five years exhausted fact that we can really tired you know I thought we were going to get maybe six months out of these things I never thought we’d get five years I was one of the optimists that felt the rover’s would survive the first winter and that we would have an extended mission but I never thought they would last through three Martian winters and continue to explore for five years I never in my wildest imagination believe it was gonna go on for five years and give me this opportunity to see so much of Mars and for so long and to learn so much about not only about the vehicles but about science of Mars and about you know the the area in which they landed and just have this opportunity that that i thought was going to be a terrific little kind of short honeymoon just kind of go on and on and on and on and and just and just get better all the time we’re gonna push these Rovers as hard as we can for as long as we can you know as long as they keep on moving as long as they keep making discoveries it is our responsibility to push these vehicles until they drop the Rovers have made Mars familiar to us you know prior to their landing it was this mysterious place and even though it had successful orbiting missions we didn’t have a human perspective on mark so we always a very distant perspective the Rovers have given us a human perspective and now it is familiar to us Mars is such a complicated place and these are such capable vehicles that they will never come a time when we’re done regardless whether that when this mission ends whether it’s tomorrow or five years from now there’s always going to be some wonderful tantalizing thing just beyond our reach that we didn’t quite get to when our children and grandchildren bring home that science book where it says there is evidence of liquid water on Mars to know that you helped build and operate and direct the rover to that spot yeah that it’s very rewarding we’re tired but there’s just nothing more fun than getting up in the morning going to work and you know seeing something nobody’s ever seen before and then deciding you know always sit down together today on this planet to decide what’s gonna happen tomorrow on that planet because I care about the only person around it doesn’t have TV coverage to the food and a man they got the black up now you’re gonna be the ground baby picture never fail yet we are getting a baby pictures chillin out one all