David Kirkpatrick

January 27, 2010

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit now a stationary science lab

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:53 am

Both the Spirit and  Opportunity have provided an amazing amount of science from Mars. Even though Spirit is no longer mobile, it still has missions to accomplish.

From the link:

NASA has spent several months trying to free the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit from a sand trap. Now, engineers are calling it quits. After six years of exploration, and significant scientific discoveries, the rover will remain a stationary science platform.

“Spirit is not dead; it has just entered another phase of its long life,” said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in a press release.

Assuming it survives the upcoming Martian winter, the rover will continue its scientific endeavors for several months to years.

This view from the front hazard-avoidance camera on
NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the position
of its front wheels following a backward drive on Jan. 23, 2010.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

October 15, 2009

TDRS-1 communications satellite, RIP

Well, technically it isn’t dead — and to get real technical about it, it never was actually alive — but the TDRS-1 communications satellite is being decommissioned after 26 years of circling the Earth working for NASA, scientists, the military and intelligence.

From the link:

Although it was never advertised, the biggest users of the TDRS constellation weren’t NASA astronauts and scientists, but the military and the National Reconnaisance Office, who had priority use of the system for keeping in touch with their spy satellites. This occaisonally caused frustration for scientific users of the system, especially during tense geopolitical moments–in his book on the Hubble Space Telescope, The Hubble WarsEric Chaisson writes about the difficulty of scheduling telescope observations during the first Gulf War.

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