posted 07-31-2005 05:38 AM
In a week which has seen the 'NASA bashers' at it again, I think we should applaud NASA and its university and industrial partners for the two magnificent MER rovers - Opportunity and Spirit- which have been operating on Mars for well over a year now.
[Not to mention other missions like Hubble,Chandra,Cassini etcetera).
We see the fantastic images and read the science data that comes down almost daily from Mars,without giving a second thought to the technology that makes this happen.
We have to remember that Mars is an unforgiving environment with a mean temperature of MINUS 63 centigrade (MINUS 81 fahrenheit),has a lower gravity of 0.376g of earth's and has a thin atmosphere of 95% carbon dioxide with traces of nitrogen,argon and small quantities of other gases coupled with high winds and dust storms.
And yet, in this hostile environment, the two MER's keep on working and working well.
Recent images show the solar cell panels and wire bundles on top of a MER. They look almost as they were when they were first built !
Bravo to the engineers and contractors of NASA and its partners on these missions.