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back to article Mars rover Opportunity spots WALL-E in crater ramble

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity snapped a dramatic photo of itself roaming around the planet's Endeavour Crater today. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ The image caught the clear shadow of the hardworking robot, which to our wise eyes on the Vulture space desk looks a bit like the cute movie character …

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Alien

<--- you know what I am thinking

"In order to give the mosaic a rectangular aspect, some small parts of the edges of the mosaic and sky were filled in with parts of an image acquired earlier as part of a 360-degree panorama from the same location."

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Anonymous Coward

time on mars

I like the way they refer to "about 5pm" local time - wondered what they hell they meant for a bit.

It happens that the Mars day is 24h 39m long, so it sort of makes sense, but if it had alternatively been 4000h long they'd have had to find a better way of describing when they made their picture.

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Coat

Re: time on mars

4000h day? Wouldn't it just have been "about 830pm" then ?

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Pint

Re: time on mars

I assume it's "between about 4:30 and 5:00 p.m" because it took several pictures over half a half hour period.

If the day was 4000 hours long then I suppose late afternoon would be something like "between 1620:30 and 1621pm local time". (Assume you still bother with am and pm)

Mind you a 166 hour long lunch would be nice addition to any Friday.

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." -- Douglas Adams.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: time on mars

"Assume you still bother with am and pm"

I advise against it - the am/pm time format isn't compatible with planets where a day lasts less than 12 hours. Attempting to use it on such a planet causes a potentially fatal problem: you never reach lunchtime.

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Alien

Re: time on mars

"It happens that the Mars day is 24h 39m long"

And our human wake/sleep cycle tends to lengthen roughly three-quarters of an hour when left free-running (i.e. no synchronisation with daylight/nighttime). This can only mean one thing.

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Alien

Re: time on mars

So who decided where the Greenwich of Mars is? And how? Has it got a dome?

There is obviously more on Mars than we've been told.

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Re: time on mars

Yep.

When are we going to get back up off this stinking blue rock and go back to our cold, red homeland.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you never reach lunchtime.

I can assure you that I *always* reach lunchtime, no matter what the timey-wimey thing on the wall might say...

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Re: time on mars

I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's definitely aliens.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can only mean one thing.

Our body clock is a PLL ?

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Coat

But...

... is there Life on Mars?

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Boffin

Re: time on mars

Patience, we need to send trees there first to terraform the environment and turn all those carbon dioxide into oxygen.

That will take a few hundred years.

And will only happen once someone at NASA has figured out a way to get tree saplings onto the planet en masse.

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Coat

Re: But...

It wouldn't be a god-awful small affair...

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Boffin

@Chris 19 Re: time on mars

- the am/pm time format isn't compatible with planets where a day lasts less than 12 hours.

You may want to rethink that, and ponder the meaning of the 'm'. Hint: it's to do with the middle of the day; the moment your local star is highest over your local horizon. Whether that's just a few earth minutes after sunrise, years or even ages, unless your planet's rotation is exactly in sync with its orbit, your 'meridiem' will be there. If your planet is synced you will have to travel to lunch if you're not there already.

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Pint

Re: So who decided where the Greenwich of Mars is?

Merton Davies, apparently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airy-0

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Alien

Re: time on mars

No - the am/pm FORMAT is fine - there's still a noon for the time to be before or after - it's just the value of noon or midnight that change.

For example, if the day was 28 hours long, there'd be nothing to stop you saying something happened at 14 noon precisely, or at 13.55am

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Boffin

Re: Shirley

I would hope that when NASA say "between about 4.30 and 17:00" they mean just that, which is a period of twelve-and-a-half hours.

Because it would be bloody stupid to mix time formats within a single sentence.

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Dramatic?

Hardly what I'd call dramatic! Interesting maybe, not dramatic.

@time on mars, they could still divide the 4000 earth hour long local day into 24 giving them local hours, it'd just mean a "local" hour would last 166 earth hours, it just would'nt be so accurate, though giving local minutes and seconds and maybe tenths/hundredths of a second would help narrow it down!

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FAIL

Re: Dramatic?

"Interesting maybe, not dramatic."

Ok, then you go there and make that dramatic photo.

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Happy

Re: Dramatic?

What was that sound?

Ah yes. That'll be all the smugness evaporating from those who have carefully coded bulletproof routines for handling UTC offsets, as the impact of variable length units of time measurement sinks in.

Who's going to raise the RFC?

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Boffin

It's all a fake

"In order to give the mosaic a rectangular aspect, some small parts of the edges of the mosaic and sky were filled in with parts of an image acquired earlier as part of a 360-degree panorama from the same location."

It's a fake. We never went to Mars at all. That pic was taken in the Mojave Desert somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's all a fake

No it is mars, its just the same sound stage where they faked the moon landing.

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Hoorah!

A true credit to the engineers wot built and designed it.

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Alien

Surprised noone has posted the xkcd cartoon yet.

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@Sir Wiggum

"Surprised noone has posted the xkcd cartoon yet."

Very good point Sir, although it is tremendously sad.... here it is for them that would like a pointer

http://xkcd.com/695/

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Thumb Up

Thankful no one has posted the XkCd yet. Pretending the reply below yours doesn't exist.

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We've honoured heroic humans and animals with plaques, maybe its time we honoured these 2 little rovers with something similar. I realize I'm anthropomorphising the rovers and that it would really be a tribute to the engineers and operators, but I think we should in someway commemorate them.

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re: commemorate

Playmobil

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Pint

Very proud

Made in the USA.

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Re: Very proud

"Made in the USA."

Oh good lord...

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Thumb Up

Re: Very proud

"Made in the USA"

By Real Engineers. Designed to last a month or two, and still going strong. Now, *that* is good design, no matter what nationality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very proud

Whilst I upvoted Tim's salient comment above I agree that this team, along with that of Voyager, deserve a medal.

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@AC Re: Very proud

"..this team, along with that of Voyager, deserve a medal."

Hear, hear. Well put.

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Re: Very proud

I bet you: At least half of it is "made in Taiwan" (or its mainland provinces*eg*).

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Re: Very proud

At what point of interplanetary exploration do you think the yankss will begin to comprehend that our concepts of nations and nationalism are utterly meaningless in the grand scheme of things? You would have thought pictures from another planet would maybe provide some perspective, but no.

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WTF?

Re: Very proud

"concepts of nations and nationalism are utterly meaningless in the grand scheme of things?"

Everything human is meaningless in the grand scheme (whatever that is) including you. That doesn't make them worthless. like it or not , humans are tribal animals and that is never going to change.

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Mushroom

Not a Disney/Pixar design!

WALL-E was patterned (strongly) after the "Johnny 5" robot in the earlier film, "Short Circuit." It is not a "Disney/Pixar" design.

I have great respect for the Pixar folks who happily admit their inspirations but none at all for Disney who has been ripping off the public treasury of tales, slapping their name in front of it and promoting it as if it were their own original creation since the 1940's.

Local classical music station ran a program about movies using unattributed classical compositions to make their "own" movie music. Guess which company supplied most of the examples? The melody of "Hi-ho, hi-ho it's off to work we go ...." was written by Mozart. Yes, that Mozart.

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Happy

Re: Not a Disney/Pixar design!

You mean Kyle Mozart? I LOVE his work!

Seriously though, you forgot to mention how litigious Disney is when someone gets too close to their stuff too. Kind of ironic.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Not a Disney/Pixar design!

PIXAR FOLKS ARE DISNEY FOLKS

YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED

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Re: Not a Disney/Pixar design!

As one noted, and I add that you young Hu-Persons (stupid political correct name for de-tailed apes) have poor memories of a great character...

There is so much Johnny 7 in that shadow (Tall, Dark and... Squarish)...

And so little 'what's his name' (short, odd-eyed and shortish)...

Nothing like the shadow of 'the squat one' that was drawn, mostly the shadow of the real one in hard metal.

(I am not dis-allowing, that there may have been the old "I never forget a face, but I suck at names" error, just to allow for gray matter loss.) Spelling/Grammar not included...

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Re: Not a Disney/Pixar design!

Think you'll find it was number 5 who was alive...

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Re: Not a Disney/Pixar design!

And he was number 5 of a series of 5... there was no number 7. Or 6 for that matter.

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That's not Wall-E

That's a bloody Gatso!

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Coat

Re: That's not Wall-E

... and you can also see the shadow of a little green man getting out of a white van with an angle grinder!

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Alien

How come?

This image was on Twitter a full hour before NASA received it.

Just sayin'

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Happy

Where's all the red????

I'm surprised by how colorful that picture is. I guess you can blame it on film and TV, but I expect everything to be a shade of red when looking at images from Mars.

*note to devs, why is the spell checker insisting I use the US spelling of 'colourful'? This is a UK site.

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Re: Where's all the red????

Unless I'm very much mistaken the spiel chocker is built in to your browser. If you're using Firefox then I seem to recall that US English is the default but you can add proper English by right-clicking and selecting Add Dictionaries form the Languages menu.

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xyz
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Well at least Nasa has started to allow some blue in the pix

instead of that awful red colour they usually paint over anything Mars.

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Blue skies on Mars?

That's a new one.

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