February 25, 2015 9:50 pm

I Just Got To Watch A Sunset on Mars

Shown: a Screen capture from the NASA/JPL Mars Movie: I'm Dreaming of a Blue Sunset

Screen capture from NASA/JPL Mars Movie: I’m Dreaming of a Blue Sunset

I wasn’t actually on Mars, of course.

But I did watch the video simulation NASA just released of a Martian sunset, created from images taken using the panoramic camera on the Opportunity Rover.

You remember Opportunity. It was the second of two rovers that landed on Mars in January 2004. Opportunity landed on the red planet on the 25th, a few weeks after its twin Spirit landed.

Opportunity’s expected functional lifespan was 90 days.

Spirit fell silent in March 2010… about 8 months before Opportunity took these images on November 4-5, 2010.

Not bad considering that by then Opportunity was supposed to be a multi-million dollar, 400 lb. stationary monument to human achievement.

Instead, as of February 10th, 2015 Opportunity had traveled nearly the length of an Olympic marathon, only 200 meters shy of 42.195 kilometers.

And maybe the fact that it’s still going strong (admittedly, not as strong as it was) is the best testament to the human spirit of exploration that Opportunity could provide.

You can see the video here.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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