On Mars, Meanwhile

Mars Rover Opportunity

When the subject of Iraq comes up, my brother John occasionally will point to some stunning NASA accomplishment–for instance, the continuing odysseys of those two little rovers on Mars–and say something like, “We should stick to stuff like that. That’s what we’re really good at.”

The latest exhibit: The rover Opportunity, still rolling 24 months past its 3-month life expectancy, is getting ready to explore a big crater. To help scope a route, the NASA spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, flew over the Opportunity to take a look at things. The space agency published a picture today–the one above, and click it to see the bigger version–showing the Opportunity complete with faint Rover tracks. I just love it that we’ve put machines on and around this rock 35 million miles (minimum) out there in space, and now we have them checking up on each other.

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