90 days? Ha! How about 15 years!

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NASA and JPL have closed the books on the Mars Opportunity rover. Designed for a 90 day mission, the little explorer-that-could made it almost 15 years. The last transmission from the rover has been translated into something a bit anthropomorphic and pensive, and variations on the above image have become Internet memes.  Someday someone will find it sitting forlornly in a pile of Martian dust, and at that point we’ll have to decide whether to bring it back to be displayed in the Smithsonian, or to create a permanent historical park on Mars.

Good job, Opportunity (you, too, Spirit and Sojourner). Rest easy, we’ll find you someday.

Memorial Geek: Mars Rovers Contain WTC Metal

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NASA’s Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, carry pieces of metal recovered from Ground Zero.  Both rovers are equipped with identical parts.  This image, provided by NASA, is of the rover Spirit, and was taken by the panoramic camera on February 2, 2004.  The piece of metal with the US flag emblem is aluminum recovered from the World Trade Center, after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Image: NASA. Click on the image to go to the NASA site.

Mars Geek: Opportunity’s Picture of the Moment

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Mars is more than a red dot in the night sky.  It’s a real place.  We can go there.

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