Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Not Space Junk Yet: Mars Rovers Carry On Despite Age, Ailments
From McClatchy News:
WASHINGTON — In one of the most remarkable engineering feats of our time, the aging Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are still taking orders and sending home pictures more than five years after they were supposed to turn into slabs of space junk.
Opportunity is still rolling along, but Spirit is hung up on a rock and may be reaching the end of its travels. The rovers' masters at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., hope they can nurse either or both of them through another harsh Martian winter.
"I'm very attached to them," said John Callas, the rover project manager. "They exhibit human-like qualities. They have trials and tribulations. Like aging humans, they've got arthritic joints, they forget things, their vision is not what it used to be. When something's not right, you get that sinking feeing in your stomach.''
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