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Opportunity enters Marathon Valley

Opportunity at the mouth of Marathon Valley

For the John Batchelor Show tonight John and I taped this afternoon a two-segment interview with geologist Bill Farrand, who is part of the science team for Opportunity. The image above shows Opportunity’s recent travels as well as its next target. (Click on the image for the full resolution image.) Assuming the rover’s memory problems don’t get worse and Congress decides to reverse the decision of the Obama administration to end all funding for Opportunity, the scientists hope to take the rover east into Marathon Valley, a very distinct break in the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Whether they will continue east into the crater itself Bill could not say. Some scientists have been pushing for that eventual goal, while others would prefer to do more research along the rim.

What is interesting about Marathon Valley is that it takes the rover deep into the crater’s rim. Previously Opportunity has been limited to exploring the rim’s outer edges, since the rim itself is generally too rugged for the rover to traverse.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

4 comments

  • mpthompson

    It’s rather stunning the administration would consider defunding Opportunity given the fact it can still produce good data and the considerable costs and risks associated with getting working rovers on Mars. It’s almost as if they were anti-science.

  • Almost? I’d say it’s exactly that way. Unless one favors the science touted in pop media when it’s said, e.g., “Scientists say fat people are a bane to society because of all their medical expenses,” on the one hand, and then, OTOH, “Scientists say fat people live longer.” Or, “Scientists say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” followed by, a few years later, “Scientists say breakfast may not be that important after all.” If we had time to burn we might start a “Special Scientists Say” list for the “special” science of the week supported by public service announcements and other federal dollars. This would be in contrast to the actual science being done on Mars now. Thanks for listening.

    and

    Thanks, Bob. We love you on the JBS!

  • Thank you for the kind words. I do appreciate them, more than you know.

    Everyone should also always feel free to donate to the website at the tip jar, if you are so inclined. I hate to sound like PBS and NPR, with their periodic fund-drives, but something has to pay for all this!

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