A revealing new comparison image of MSL and MER
The JPL caption and article are below
This artist's concept shows that the next generation rover, Mars Science Laboratory, is much larger than Spirit and Opportunity.
Setting Expectations for Future Generations
That's important, because the rovers depend on sun intake for their health. Like many boomers, they will be seeking the sunniest places to face winter, which is once again approaching on Mars. Having already lasted over a martian year - almost nine times longer than planned! - no one is sure just how much longer they will last.
"Once the rovers stop working, I'll miss seeing new pictures every day, but since I don't consider myself ancient, I hope to work on the Mars Science Laboratory mission after the rovers die," smiles Matijevic.
And, as new generations of rovers continue driving faster and farther on Mars, future generations of astronauts--perhaps the grandchildren of today's Baby Boomers--will begin to head farther away from Earth. On the horizon is a whole new era for a human-robotic partnership, with the young-at-heart rovers raising the bar for all who follow.