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Sol 1500
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post Mar 22 2008, 06:47 PM
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smile.gif cool.gif
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Astro0
post Mar 22 2008, 09:50 PM
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To commemorate Spirit reaching 1500 Sols on Mars and with Opportunity to reach the same milestone soon, please enjoy the following offering. A poster and desktop images featuring some very special words are available at this webpage.

They have been produced as a thanks to "all the men and women on the MER teams who have worked so hard, for so long and with so much passion" to keep these two explorers doing what they do best.

My personal thanks to our resident poet laureate Stuart Atkinson for his brilliant prose (as always) and to UMSF member#1 Doug Ellison for his continuing enthusiasm and support, as well as keeping us all exploring through the UMSF forum.

Enjoy
Astro0
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EDIT: I've added a movie to the webpage. See message below for preview.
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nprev
post Mar 22 2008, 10:34 PM
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LOVE that poster, Astro0; merges perfectly with Stu's words!!!


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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djellison
post Mar 23 2008, 12:21 AM
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AstroO, official 'pimp my banner' contributor for UMSF gave me the 1500 sols ident to drop over the logo as well - I love it smile.gif

Doug
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nprev
post Mar 23 2008, 01:41 AM
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smile.gif ...looking forward to the 2000, 2500, and 3000 sols upgrades...beautiful, guys.


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Astro0
post Mar 23 2008, 07:06 AM
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That's a lot of zero's nprev, but I suppose with six wheels we can get to at least 9,9OO,OOO SOLS rolleyes.gif

BTW - thanks for the feedback on the artwork, a lot goes to Stu and his words.

Also, I've added a movie version to the webpage for download.
Here's an under 1mb version as a preview.
Attached File  sml_movie_1500sols.wmv ( 881.43K ) Number of downloads: 349


Enjoy
Astro0
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Stu
post Mar 23 2008, 11:39 AM
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That looks just beautiful AstroO... shame some idiot ruined that lovely picture by scribbling words all over it! laugh.gif

No, seriously, many thanks for inviting me to be a part of your fine tribute. As I say in the lines on there, future genarations of martians will surely look back on these days with great nostalgia and envy, in the same way that we look back at the days and journeys and explorations of Lewis and Clark, Shackleton, Darwin and others. I have absolutely - absolutely - no doubt that in centuries to come, when Mars is settled and colonised, proud parents will take their children on the "Spirit Trail Hike" up Husband Hill to stand with them on its rocky summit and stare down at the great plain of Gusev seeing exactly the same sunset you show on your poster, just as young honeymooning martian couples will walk hand in hand around the rim of Victoria Crater, bathed in the marmalade-golden light of a Meridiani dusk, ticking off the "Famous Opportunity Landmarks" on their tourist guide map. And all will wonder what it would have been like to be The First to see such amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring places, not in person, not through the visors of helmets like theirs, but on computer screens, from many millions of miles away. And as they stand before Spirit and Opportunity, restored to their original glory by dedicated teams of volunteers from "Mars Heritage", martians will marvel at how the rovers defied all the odds, met and overcame every technical challenge thrown at them, laughed in Mars' face when the very planet itself tried to kill them by blocking out the Sun, and transformed Mars for countless millions of people, through their images and adventures, from a word into a world.



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peter59
post Mar 23 2008, 08:04 PM
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"Also on the table are budget issues that could impact the Mars Exploration Rovers — those still working robots, Spirit and Opportunity — and the overall NASA red planet program. For one, next Monday, an all-hands meeting of the Mars Exploration Rover team is slated to discuss financial belt-tightening and impact on the Mars rovers. Turn off one of the rovers? That might save some money."
??? ohmy.gif

Mars, Outer Planets - NASA’s Dollar Dilemma

LiveScience Blogs, Author: Leonard David


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Free software for planetary science (including Cassini Image Viewer).
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nprev
post Mar 23 2008, 08:21 PM
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You gotta be <clinking> me. mad.gif A quarter of a century after we almost turned off Voyager 2 to save a few bucks they're talking about doing something similar to the MERs???

Uh-uh, nope, not acceptable. I feel a letter-writing campaign coming on. mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif


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djellison
post Mar 23 2008, 09:23 PM
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Something tells me 'NASA turns off Mars Rover' is not a headline that's going to be acceptable. The next monday big meeting is important, lets see what comes out of that, what the options are, and then start the appropriate action if required.

Doug
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tedstryk
post Mar 23 2008, 11:22 PM
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This is something bureaucrats and congress often do when budgets are tight. They will threaten various programs to see if anyone besides those employed in the program screams, so to speak. It is a way of seeing if programs have a constituency or not. To me, Leonard David's comment about turning rovers off is pure speculation (I am not criticizing him - I read this as him saying that this is what he is doing here], and I even think that it might be intentional hyperbole to make the statement "what is there to cut without crippling the mission?" Still, no one seems to have actually proposed cutting back the mission, so I won't panic until something scary actually comes out of the meeting.


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Astro0
post Mar 23 2008, 11:33 PM
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OK, two things...

NO, NO, NO, NO ...don't sacrifice one or two operational spacecraft exploring the surface of Mars at a reasonable daily cost, because another mission is blowing out. The MERs did it on a tight budget and timeline, so should others.

I do agree with tedstryk, that this could be a tactic to see who makes the most noise, so if it's needed, we can start on UMSF with it's worldwide voice. Worst case scenario, we could start the MERs a Paypal account.

More on that subject after the meeting next week I suppose. Until we know more, let's continue to celebrate the current milestone.

Secondly... I continue to get the sneeking suspicion that Stu has come to us from the future and has been on Mars and taken the walk along the "Spirit Trail Hike" and "ticked off the Famous Opportunity Landmarks". Your words are just a little too good to come from someone who has never 'lived' on Mars. Come on Stu, confess...take us to your leader. smile.gif

Astro0
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dvandorn
post Mar 24 2008, 12:32 AM
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I still enjoy comparing these 90-sol missions with the "these things are nuclear, they'll run for years" Viking landers.

Viking 1 lander lifetime: 2247 sols
Viking 2 lander lifetime: 1283 sols
Total Viking lander lifetime: 3530 sols

And at present:

Spirit lifetime: 1501 sols
Opportunity lifetime: 1480 sols
Total MER lifetime: 2981 sols

We're only 550 total sols (275 combined sols) away from the MERs racking up more active lifetime on the surface of Mars than the Viking landers. So, on Spirit sol 1776 and Oppy sol 1755, we'll *really* have something to celebrate. Assuming both of our girls are still rolling then.

Of course, each rover individually has exceeded Viking 2's lifetime already.

-the other Doug


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nprev
post Mar 24 2008, 02:07 AM
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QUOTE (tedstryk @ Mar 23 2008, 04:22 PM) *
This is something bureaucrats and congress often do when budgets are tight. They will threaten various programs to see if anyone besides those employed in the program screams, so to speak.


Very insightful observation, Ted. I hadn't thought of this. I've been involved with DoD stuff pretty much my whole life, and when that gets threatened damn near everybody screams, since a given major program's infrastructure is so widely distributed geographically. NASA stuff is generally very small by comparison, and therefore localized.

Let's see what we wake up to on Tuesday morning. Hopefully, wiser heads will prevail.


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Stu
post Mar 24 2008, 07:49 AM
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AstroO, you figured out my secret; I am indeed from the future - actually I'm a Special Circumstances agent from The Culture, come back in time to monitor you and slightly tweak your history; you know how we love our meddling! - and I've seen people doing those things on Mars. smile.gif

You might also be interested to know that in the future there is indeed an attempt to shut down one of the rovers to save money, but the plan is abandoned after the biggest protest campaign ever staged by the pro-space community. Led by outraged members of UMSF, who enlist the help of The Planetary Society and other pro-space groups, there's a concerted effort to get the decision reversed by the mass emailing of NASA officials, politicians, newspapers, tv stations and online news agencies; thousands of videos in support of the MER program appear on YouTube; every pro-space blog campaigns to stop the rover being switched off, etc.

In the end, The Powers That Be realise that turning off one of the two most succesful spaceprobes in history, which have revolutionised our view of Mars, captured the world's imagination and truly transformed the planet in the public's minds, would be a PR disaster, especially at a time when they are 1) wanting to improve their public image to increase the profile of, and support for, the Vision for Space Exploration, and 2) facing increasingly serious technical challenges from China and Europe and other countries. They realise that it would be a kick in the teeth for science teaching, engineering teaching and technology development in general. They realise that if they're to actually get the public to believe in the value of space exploration it would be ridiculous to do away with one of their most productive, most visible assets. Common sense prevails.

Well, at least in one future...

Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.


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