29.10.08

Staying Warm on Mars

Image source with more information
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Phoenix team are starting to make ruthless decisions in the name of efficiency, switching off heaters in order to make the best of the dwindling autumn light. It may seem suicidal, but the lander's camera should keep itself warm, while the heaters are a considerable drain on its resources. Ultimately, the only thing it should really need to keep warm are its batteries.

Meanwhile, far to the south, the Mars Rovers are enjoying the seasons changing in the opposite direction. After a dangerous winter of rock-bottom solar power, Opportunity (above) has now crawled back out of Victoria Crater (once expected to be its final resting place) and is now setting off on an epic journey to an even larger crater. Well, epic for a wounded, dust-covered, semi-autonomous robot, anyway.

3 comments:

tinker said...

That robotic self-portrait is truly great photography. Out-of-this-world! ;-)
It really does amaze me how these little robots manage to keep on functioning and sending back images under such harsh conditions. Our coffeemaker just gave up the ghost this morning, after only 10 or ao years inside, only working a couple of times a week - Opportunity would have considered those conditions to be like a vacation. Perhaps NASA could make some extra $ designing some reliable kitchen appliances for the private sector...

chiya said...

And I thought it was cold in my apartment. The way you put it, Phoenix and opportunity seem like pets. hehe :)

tinker: You're right, I would definitely pay more for a coffee maker that lasted a long time, and a toaster that didn't break. It would be more sustainable too :)

mark said...

yes...epic...exciting too