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RIP Blythe Spirit
May 28, 2011 9:31 AM   Subscribe

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has announced: NASA has ended operational planning activities for the Mars rover Spirit and transitioned the Mars Exploration Rover Project to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity. New Scientist has a quality obituary for the little Mars Rover that could.
posted by hippybear (44 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most adorable probe ever.
posted by riruro at 9:32 AM on May 28, 2011


That's what Marvin said.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:34 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Lizc at 9:36 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obligatory xkcd comic
posted by briank at 9:38 AM on May 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


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posted by queensissy at 9:45 AM on May 28, 2011


Pours out some WD40 for my homie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on May 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


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posted by cman at 9:48 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:49 AM on May 28, 2011


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There will be a candle in the window tonight, to light Spirit's way home. Go to wherever it is that all good machines go when they stop, and know that we will enshrine your final resting place one day.

Rest well, Spirt, and know one day we will come for you.
posted by strixus at 9:53 AM on May 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


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I look forward to the heartening Pixar tale of the little rover who could.
posted by Elsa at 9:54 AM on May 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


WALLLLLLEEEEEEE!
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:55 AM on May 28, 2011


That XKCD comic is the saddest thing, why did I read that? WHY?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:58 AM on May 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


I figure this is as good a place as any to link something I saw the other day which is quite cool - the most complete 3D map of the universe.
The map, called the 2MASS Redshift Survey, spans a distance of 380 million light years, and took over ten years to complete.

Scientists collected data for the map by scanning near-infrared light, the spectral region where interstellar dust is most transparent. The researchers discovered over 43,00 galaxies. The map is color coded so that the most distant galaxies are red, and nearby galaxies purple.

The scientists initially had a 2D image that did not account for distances, and so turned to redshift calculations to formulate a 3D image. The light from distant galaxies experiences redshift, an increase in wavelength, as a result of the expansion of the universe. Galaxies farther away have higher redshift, and so scientists can use these measurements to calculate galaxy distances.
posted by gman at 9:59 AM on May 28, 2011


The news about this has made me feel unaccountably sad.

You were awesome, Spirit. Truly. Thank you for all the science.

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posted by rtha at 10:00 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by localroger at 10:13 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:20 AM on May 28, 2011


It's not really abandoned, just waiting. We know the exact position. In 200 years we will probably either have collapsed on a space fareing level due to lack of resources or be putting it in a museum.
posted by jaduncan at 10:24 AM on May 28, 2011


Yeah, like we came back for Surveyor 3!
posted by Tom-B at 10:25 AM on May 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by tyllwin at 10:26 AM on May 28, 2011


Wait, the New Scientist article says the photo is a "self-portrait", how did Spirit manage to take it? Where's the camera hanging from?
posted by Tom-B at 10:27 AM on May 28, 2011


Yeah, like we came back for Surveyor 3!

The shadows are all wrong and there's no stars in the sky. IT WAS A HOAX, when will ya'll learn?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:28 AM on May 28, 2011


oh, nevermind, i just saw the black spot in the center.
posted by Tom-B at 10:28 AM on May 28, 2011


Explanation of how Spirit takes its self portrait photos.
posted by hippybear at 10:30 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure one day the Mars Historical Preservation Society will put up a nice monument for it, like they did at Carl Sagan Memorial Station.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:35 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Spirit's fate has bummed you out, here's a happier space tale: Almost 7 years into its 3 year mission, Amateur radio satellite Oscar 7 failed in 1981 due to its batteries shorting out. In 2002, after more than 20 years of silence, Oscar 7 was heard again. One of the shorted batteries had gone open-circuit, and now the satellite can be used whenever it is in direct sunlight, on direct solar power. And nearly 10 years into its zombie afterlife, including several stints when it has been illuminated continuously for months at a time, it's still in use today.
posted by localroger at 10:36 AM on May 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Related: IKEA Lamp Commercial

Spirit is symbolic of all the work that many, many, many people put into the mission but you shouldn't confuse the symbol with the thing itself. We should be celebrating the team that did the work, I think, not the machine.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 10:43 AM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Rather than bring Spirit back to a museum some time in the future, I think we should build a museum around Spirit.
posted by lewedswiver at 11:10 AM on May 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Great commentary from Dave Lavery on a FIRST Robotics Forum. One up top, scroll down a little for another with mission specific accomplishments.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 11:15 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


R.I.P., Spirit.
posted by Euphorbia at 11:19 AM on May 28, 2011


Last year we went to the JPL Open House, and they had a rover on display, "roving" around an enclosed area. The technician tried to explain to my 10 year old that this was a Mars rover, to which he replied, "Shouldn't it be on Mars first before you start calling it a Mars rover?" She gave him one of those WTF grins and was speechless.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:31 AM on May 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good job, little rover! Good job.

And yeah, some day we'll build a park around it or something.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:45 PM on May 28, 2011


Dear Diary:

Today was lots of fun! We all had a picnic in Spirit Park. We ate cream cheese and olive sandwiches and drank root beer that came in cans. Daddy said all drinks were in cans back in the old days. Nzinga tried to steal my strawberry cake, but she was too slow and I caught her. I wanted to play with the rover, but they put a forcefield around it and you can't touch it. Daddy said that next year we might get to visit Earth!

Love,
Beatrice Kanazawa, Age 7
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:57 PM on May 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


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posted by vibrotronica at 1:17 PM on May 28, 2011


but Val Kilmer can still use the radio...
posted by clavdivs at 1:53 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by genehack at 2:42 PM on May 28, 2011


"Discoveries of an unplanned nature." Heh.

Godspeed, lil buddy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2011


An alternate take on the XKCD comic
posted by theclaw at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


When I die and they lay me to rest....
posted by dhartung at 5:02 PM on May 28, 2011


I always wondered what would happen to me after I die. Now I know, I'll go to Mars!
posted by localroger at 5:12 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Sportbilly at 5:39 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by spitefulcrow at 5:50 PM on May 28, 2011


I got a chance to see Steve Squyres, the rover project director, speak last year. I strongly recommend seeing him if you get a chance.

Also, Squyres' book Roving Mars is a great reading for any engineering student. Many trade-offs had to be made in order to get the rovers off the ground.
posted by neuron at 7:55 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


NASA is awesome. What a testament to science and human ingenuity, what was the original mission supposed to be? 90 days?
posted by IvoShandor at 10:03 PM on May 28, 2011


2nding neuron's recommendation. Roving Mars was a great read and when it was written the rovers had 'only' been on Mars for 2 years. It's amazing to see how long they have lasted since then.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:35 PM on May 28, 2011


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