Looks like heavy traffic over the holidays on Mars. Like jet trails in the sky, the Mars dust looks like it holds the memories of many vehicles running through it. As the jet trails evaporate in the atmosphere, so will the Rover trails in the dust as the wind eventually fills them up with new dust.
Both Spirit and Opportunity are nearing milestones. Spirit landed on Mars on January 3, 2004, with Opportunity landing 21 days later. If I recall correctly, the originally mission was hoped to last 90 days. Both have lasted about 20 times longer.
Guess what? They’re still working. My car can’t go six months without something going wrong with it and me taking it into the shop. I predict in the future we will all be driving Rovers on Earth. Better than golf carts, surely; great mileage and no maintenance.
The Martian wind has helped clear the dust from the rovers solar panels that collect sunlight and convert it into energy. These puppies don’t have antifreeze either. My car battery would have died in this cold long, long ago.
Admittedly, Spirit just barely survived this Martian winter. Still, both seem to be in good condition for the foreseeable future, which is simply marvelous.
Plans call for Spirit to check out “Home Plate”, an area of explosive volcanic material that scientists are eager to look over. Opportunity will head to Endeavour Crater.
Remember the excellent Inspector Morse tv series and the wonderful books written by Colin Dexter? Everyone just called him ‘Morse’. Not revealed until one of the last episodes was his first name – Endeavour.