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Spirit Journey
November 21, 2011 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Mars Rover Spirit's Entire Journey on Mars (A time lapse)
posted by dhruva (47 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
i love this.
posted by nadawi at 7:02 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


i also love this.
posted by radiosilents at 7:05 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't help but root for the little guy
posted by Blasdelb at 7:06 PM on November 21, 2011


But what shall I be called am I the first
have I an owner what shape am I what
shape am I am I huge if I go
to the end on this way past these trees and past these trees
till I get tired that's touching one wall of me
for the moment if I sit still how everything
stops to watch me I suppose I am the exact centre
but there's all this what is it roots
roots roots roots and here's the water
again very queer but I'll go on looking

(From Wodwo, by Ted Hughes)
posted by yoink at 7:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


.
posted by swift at 7:07 PM on November 21, 2011


.
posted by localroger at 7:13 PM on November 21, 2011


That was...unexpectedly moving.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:13 PM on November 21, 2011


The fading contrast as it got older made me sad.
posted by teppic at 7:21 PM on November 21, 2011


Ha! Humanity can be pretty neat when we decide to throw down. Weirdly, my favorite part may have been the tread patterns in the sand.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:22 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


When it's little "leg" got stuck... I got some martian dust in my eye... Excuse me.
posted by mrgroweler at 7:24 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Related, and equally full of Mars dust: xkcd
posted by ChuraChura at 7:25 PM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow I forgot about that xkcd comic. It seems i have the same piece of dust in my eye again
posted by mrgroweler at 7:30 PM on November 21, 2011


Towards the end, you can see the front right wheel stop moving and being dragged along, Quasimodo-like.
posted by stbalbach at 7:39 PM on November 21, 2011


Wow I forgot about that xkcd comic. It seems i have the same piece of dust in my eye again

Shortly after the xkcd comic came out, someone was moved to write a piece of Doctor Who fanfiction in which The Doctor went to Mars, expressly to adopt the Martian Rover and bring it on board the TARDIS and fix it up and keep it as an auxiliary piece of equipment.

I think the overwhelming reader response was "Oh, thank you, I feel a lot better now."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 PM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Truly an awesome project. Thanks to everyone who made that a reality.
posted by odinsdream at 8:04 PM on November 21, 2011


My own remix of the Spirit video, courtesy of YouTube Doubler and Devo. Make sure you mute the video on the left first...
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:05 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, under a mile a year. We sure know how to make things go fast. ;)
posted by wierdo at 8:09 PM on November 21, 2011


My God, Mars did it, it killed Spirit!

We warned you not to do this Mars, but have left us no choice. In a little under a year, we will begin a geological assault on your puny rocks and will unlock the mysteries you've tried in vain to hide. WE KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE AND WE"RE COMING IN.

Resistance is futile. This time we're bringing lasers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 PM on November 21, 2011


wierdo, don't forget to count the tens of millions of miles in the two years before the landing ...
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:24 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Duet On Mars, by John Updike

Said Spirit to Opportunity,
“I’m feeling rather frail,
With too much in my memory,
Plus barrels of e-mail.”

Responded Opportunity,
“My bounce was not so bad,
But now they send me out to see
These dreary rocks, bedad!”

“It’s cold up here, and rather red,”
Sighed Spirit. “I feel faint.”
Good Opportunity then said,
“Crawl on, without complaint!

“This planet needs our shovels’ bite
And treadmarks in the dust
To tell if life and hematite
Pervade its arid crust.”

“There’s life, by all the stars above,
On Mars—it’s you and I!”
Blithe Spirit cried. “Let’s rove, my love,
And meet before we die!”

(I feel obliged to post this in any Mars rover thread. It still makes me all tingly every time I read it.)
posted by hippybear at 8:33 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I actually said out loud, "Oh, there's where the wheel died!"

Incredible and awe inspiring.

On the shoulders of giants.
posted by Sphinx at 8:37 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, that sent a shiver all thru my lil earthbound body. Lovely.
posted by Philby at 8:42 PM on November 21, 2011


Spirit's shadow is one with Johnny 5 at about :30.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:52 PM on November 21, 2011


I don't like that xkcd comic. It makes it feel to much like the rover is the butt of a joke.

I love this stuff so much. I love to watch this and just fathom the possibility of other planets. Maybe my mind is too feeble, but just the concept of a completely foreign planet is mind blowing to me.

I just love the fact that mere men decided this earth of ours wasn't enough for us, and through sheer determination, and even death, we gave a grand "fuck you" to gravity and rocketed ourselves off this earth, into something we didn't begin to know.

Floating out in space, the delicate pull of orbit being the only thing keeping us from floating away literally forever. It's not a concept we see in reality very often.

And then to go beyond that...to throw a robot from our planet, millions of miles to land on another. Forgive me if I'm gushing, but come on! We reached out into space and not only left a mark, but made another planet home for 5 years.

It's such a shame that so many people are barely even aware of these astonishing accomplishments. I hope that NASA, and other space programs are able to return once again to the glory they once held in the public's eye.
posted by toekneebullard at 9:18 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, when they first announced that balloon bounce thing for these rovers, and showed a mockup video of how it was going to work, I was all full of "Sorry guys, but no way is that going to work ..."

Yet here they are, all those years later.

It has been an absolutely stupendous achievement, and yet we don't know any of their names - the people who designed it all, and then actually pulled it off.

It'll never happen I guess, but if I were in a bar one day, and a guy said "I was on the team building the control systems (or whatever) for those rovers ...," I'd sure buy him a drink! (or two!)
posted by woodblock100 at 9:35 PM on November 21, 2011


One lonely, plucky little robot scooping things up day after day on a lifeless world, long after he was supposed to done, for no reason other than that's what he was programmed to do. One wonders if he spent his cold Martian nights watching Fred Astaire movies with his pet cockroach.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:40 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, Empress thank you - I really DO feel so much better about the whole thing now!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:39 PM on November 21, 2011


Whose the kyootest space rover, e-var?! Why you are Curiosity, you are!

And so smart, too! I'd call you little, but you're 2000 lbs, 6 feet tall, and will be the largest, most complex payload to ever set track on another planet. You're like Wall-E's cute but hunkier big brother!

Assembled, tested, encapsulated... and set to blast off on Saturday. Have a nice trip... and a lovely landing next August!
posted by markkraft at 11:10 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


the most difficult thing for me to understand is why NASA doesn't have more support politically. I think the vast majority of Americans are in favor of it. and - if NASA was able to use the money it generates from its patents, it could go a long way towards being self-sustaining. but revenue just flows - from what I've read - back into the general treasury, and not to NASA itself. I'm working on a space project, and for a lark decided to put NASA up against Britney Spears on Google Trends. surprising results -
http://www.google.com/trends?q=NASA%2C+Britney+Spears&ctab=0&geo=us&geor=all&date=ytd&sort=0

JPL rules. go space explorers everywhere.
posted by TMezz at 11:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Xoebe at 11:40 PM on November 21, 2011


It's too bad they could never get Spirit's treads out of the sand, but there's still Opportunity, and Curiosity (whose build gallery is pretty interesting stuff), and (hopefully) the JWST, and a lot more cool science to come. What a wonderful use of my tax dollars!
posted by jiawen at 1:15 AM on November 22, 2011


This is what we can do, folks. Keep at it.
posted by brundlefly at 1:32 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's lovely, and it's also a terrific illustration of how crazy it is to consider sending human beings to do robots' work on other planets. Here's this little guy doing science for five years on the surface of Mars, with no need for an outhouse, a shower stall, a sleeping bag, a pizza, or a ticket home.

Five generations of Mars rovers from now, it'll be difficult to explain to children why we ever thought it was a good idea to send human flesh into outer space.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 3:08 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's this little guy doing science for five years on the surface of Mars, with no need for an outhouse, a shower stall, a sleeping bag, a pizza, or a ticket home.

He's doing science that could have been accomplished much faster by a couple of humans in a Mars Rover.

Five generations of Mars rovers from now, it'll be difficult to explain to children why we ever thought it was a good idea to send human flesh into outer space.

Forty plus years after the moon landings, it's pretty easy to understand how much better and safer living on another planet would be for humans, if we hadn't stopped doing it
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hopefully the Chinese build a monument to the Rover out of respect when they get there.
posted by Renoroc at 5:09 AM on November 22, 2011


.
posted by jwells at 5:35 AM on November 22, 2011


Hopefully the Chinese build a monument to the Rover out of respect when they get there.

You mean like they did with all the historical stuff in China? I think in English we refer to those "monuments" as "landfills".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:39 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't like that xkcd comic. It makes it feel to much like the rover is the butt of a joke.

I don't think that, but I don't get anthropomorphizing a robot. Why on earth [sic] would you program it to expect to come home?

Five generations of Mars rovers from now, it'll be difficult to explain to children why we ever thought it was a good idea to send human flesh into outer space.

Pace you and Brandon, I think that the first humans to go to Mars will arrive at a rudimentary base camp constructed by robots, which will then assist them in surviving its harsh environment.

the most difficult thing for me to understand is why NASA doesn't have more support politically. I think the vast majority of Americans are in favor of it. and - if NASA was able to use the money it generates from its patents, it could go a long way towards being self-sustaining. but revenue just flows - from what I've read - back into the general treasury, and not to NASA itself.

Well, you need to understand the political calculus of NASA. Most people love the brave astronauts and plucky robots to death, they just think it all costs too much (many, of course, have a ridiculously inflated idea of how much of their taxes go to the space programs, just like with foreign aid). It's mainly a civilian buffer for the defense industry. By funding science and engineering with an indirect relationship to, e.g., missile technology, we hope to make better and cheaper missiles, but also -- and this is important -- maintain a domestic capability that has few or no foreign dependencies. If you watch some non-US countries struggle with military funding and technology issues, like whether the UK needs its own aircraft carriers or must build them in conjunction with France or another partner, you see why this is part of the overall strategy. As such, NASA funding has an impetus beneath it that isn't necessarily apparent, but believe you me, is understood by policymakers.

The secondary aspect of NASA funding is that it's basically pork. Very, very lucrative pork. The Shuttle program spread so much money around so many states that it was pretty much guaranteed funding even as its costs per launch soared and two of the vehicles were lost. In some ways, the failure of NASA to come up with a viable crewed launch capability is as much to do with a failure to design one that has the same shallow-but-broad pork measurements. It also needs to, you know, work, but that's not necessarily related to the funding equation.

As to planetary science like the rovers, these only cost a small fraction of even a single shuttle flight, but when Shuttle was flying it mopped up most of the available money. I don't know if Curiosity could have been built if Shuttle hadn't been slated for retirement. Again, the general public doesn't realize how cheap these are compared to the overall astronaut stuff.
posted by dhartung at 5:45 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think that, but I don't get anthropomorphizing a robot.

The Mars Rover team kind of set people up for this kind of thinking with the way they talked about the rovers in press conferences. But of course people anthropomorphize many machines, including their home computers and cars and various household appliances, so I guess it's to be expected. I do have to agree that the way XKCD sets it up is needlessly unfair and kind of shitty to the earnest and dedicated mission planners, as if they tricked a pet into getting out of the car a long way from home and then took off. Inappropriate sentimentality can be a blunt and hurtful instrument to swing around sometimes.
posted by aught at 6:04 AM on November 22, 2011


toekneebullard: "I don't like that xkcd comic. It makes it feel to much like the rover is the butt of a joke. "

I agree. However, I think it could have been turned around with a simple, "Yes, you were a very good rover", even in the hover text.
posted by charred husk at 6:40 AM on November 22, 2011


Well, it has been turned around, if a bit awkwardly imho.
posted by hat_eater at 7:01 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think that, but I don't get anthropomorphizing a robot.

After watching that video I gave my Roomba a hug. He needs a bath.
posted by device55 at 7:33 AM on November 22, 2011


Next to the moon landing this is the single most impressive accomplishment by nasa and specifically planetary robotics. I'm just finishing Red Planet and couldn't help thinking of spirit and opportunity.
posted by judson at 7:40 AM on November 22, 2011


For what it's worth, several of the grad students I know who were involved with the Mars rover stuff (one of my undergrad advisors was integrally involved, as were many of his graduate students) have this xkcd taped up to their doors. I don't think it assumes bad faith on the part of the investigators, just sort of a Wall-E like naivete to the rovers.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:41 AM on November 22, 2011


I love the hazcams. I would go so far as to say that I am a hazcam fan. In fact, I'd say it several times over, because it is fun to say.

Hazcam fan. Hazcam fan. Hazcam fan.

Carry on with the science.
posted by BrashTech at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2011


Also, The Most Capable Robot Geologist Ever Built Now Heads To Mars To Find Life.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2011


I don't think it assumes bad faith on the part of the investigators

Well, since they did not actually program it with consciousness (to my knowledge) .... I guess I'll let them off the hook.
posted by dhartung at 3:06 PM on November 22, 2011


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