Monday, November 28, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal

The online publication, Astrobiology Magazine, is a bit strange.  As far as anyone knows, there still is no actual evidence of extraterrestrial life, yet there is already a magazine on the subject.  They are eternally hopeful.  

Despite the lack of evidence for an actual life form out there somewhere, there is good news in the sphere of Astronomy.  The Spirit rover has been operating on Mars for an entire Martian year.  I've had a fondness for Spirit ever since it landed.  One of the photos from Spirit was incorporated into my banner.  In fact, the successful landing was the subject of my fourth blog entry, back in January 2004.

Looking back at it, the post is formatted badly, because I've changed my template several times.   Back then, I was not sufficiently sophisticated to anticipate such things.  

Anyway, Spirit is still going strong.  She has traversed a distance of three miles since her maiden trek.  Astrobiology Magazine has an update:
Just Keeps Going and Going...
based on a JPL release
(Nov 26, 2005) 

Spirit, the untiring robotic "wonder child" sent by NASA to explore the eerily earthlike fourth planet from the sun, has completed one martian year--that's almost two Earth years--on Mars. Designed to last only 90 martian days (sols), the six-wheeled marvel the size of a golf cart has pursued a steady course of solar-driven geologic fieldwork, bringing back some 70,000 images and a new understanding of Mars as a potential habitat.

During Spirit's martian year, the seasons have changed from summer to winter and back again. In its orbit around the Sun, Mars has returned to where it was when the rover first landed. Having survived seven times its expected lifetime and traveling over 3 miles (about 5,000 meters), Spirit is still going strong. [...]

Now that is really cool!