# Loyal NASA rover Opportunity enters 9th year of Mars boffinry

NASA’s exploration rover Opportunity entered its historic ninth year of service on Mars today, having already driven over 21 miles and helped boffins make groundbreaking scientific discoveries on the unforgiving world. The roving robot touched down in Eagle Crater on the Red Planet on 25 January 2004, three weeks after its twin …

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#### Wishlist for next Martian rover:

1. Windscreen wipers on solar panels

#### Christmas trees: now in aluminium

Would a nuclear-powered laser beam do instead?

#### RE: Wishlist for next Martian rover:

1. A more reliable source of power that does not depend on sunlight reaching dust laden solar panels. (like a nuke battery!)

GO icon, because I hope it keeps on going, and going, and going (like the Energizer bunny!)

#### says:

21 miles in eight years, or 0.0002995 mph.

Send in the Stig.

#### Presumably Clarkson would manage to offend the Martians

Well it did travel 320 million miles in about seven months (~65,000 mph) to get there, so I think it's due a rest.

the speed limit may be 0.0003 mph

(how much is that in furlongs per fortnight?)

As a guest to planet, it should stick to the local traffic rules

2900 furlongs/fortnight.

Search term:

0.0002995 mph in furlongs per fortnight

0.0002995 mph = 0.805056 furlongs per fortnight

So on average it's still pretty damned fast!

#### On the other hand

The term "21 miles per 8 years in furlongs per fortnight" gives "(21 miles) per (8 years) = 0.804945324 furlongs per fortnight".

Seems to be some rounding errors somewhere.

#### so allowing for its progress over the last eight years seven months

its overall average is somewhere around

320000021 / (24*365.25*8.58) = 4,254.6 mph

#### AI

"The rover will stay there until mid-2012 [...] trying to work out whether the interior of the planet is molten"

These robots are getting pretty clever!

#### Nothing to say but...

What an incredible achievement...

#### Lest we forget...

Opportunity is doing a great job out there, but let's spare a thought for it's twin, Spirit which delivered it's own set of sucesses!

#### Spirit

http://xkcd.com/695/

#### Love that xkcd.

But imagine how Voyager feels.

#### It's not going to be happy...

...when it comes back in a few hundred years looking for its Creator...

#### I prefer

http://imgs.xkcd.com/blag/spirit_rewrite_unknown_author.png

And from what I hear the people at JPL prefer it too.

A raise of the glass to both the rovers and the people who built them.

Cheers.

#### Time is an illusion

"its historic ninth year of service on Mars "

"its fifth Martian winter"

So surely that's about 5 or 6 years then?

Or should the first line be "ninth earth-year"?

If only we had units of time that weren't based on a dynamic speed (even Earth's rotation around the Sun is slowing down)

or 63 in dog years! Well done Rover.

#### 21 miles in 9 years...

That's quicker than digging the Channel Tunnel!

Wall-E

#### What the worlds* needs....

Self cleaning solar panels!

* Mars and Earth

#### New keyboard required

"Plucky robot rests before sniffing Endeavour's rim"

Really....

:-))

21 miles in nine years, I had a Rover car like that once....

I'll get my coat.

#### What an achievement

It is amazing how long it has carried out being useful.

#### This is just unbelieveable

This is fantastic! Love those machines.

Don't stick your tongue out to Phobos-Grunt. It tried valiantly.

Just didn't make it.

Pity.

#### Tears

For it's little lost buddy....

The new rover, currently on it's way to Mars, is nuclear powered. So it will have no issues with dust or having to stay parked during the winter.

#### Speed Cameras

Then it should most definitely be careful about following the Martian speed laws.

#### yeah but

Some of Nasa's success stories go on and on long after their stated shelf lives(Voyager, Rover) but lest we forget a large number of their billion dollar probes simply smash into said target (when not supposed too) and return little science.

Wasn't that to do with the Americans, and their little "Hurr durr everything runs on imperial because we say so" issue?

#### @Fractured Cell

Not so much. More is was merely a failure to check which standards were in use by what teams, and making sure conversions between teams were accurate. Metric, Imperial, and even El Reg units would all work quite well together, so long as you know who's using what, and convert correctly.

Meanwhile, those projects where NASA hits one 'out of the park' surely do go a long way towards making up for the bunts and foul balls that are their less-successful projects.

#### No Excuse

I would get a ZERO for any answer in any Engineering exam that wasn't in SI units (and only powers of 1000 of those, so no cm thanks). You don't get to pick and choose. Whoever chose Imperial, contracted with anyone using Imperial or knew that someone on the project was using imperial and didn't hit the breaks should be fired, probably retroactively.

#### The real world

Is pass/fail. Either it works or it doesn't. No points of purity of process.

#### Congratulations to the Opportunity design and operations teams!!

A heck of a piece of engineering and operations, to keep the thing going for 8 years in a harsh environment with no maintenance!!

#### If only Dell had this kind of build quality

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