Three Minutes and 13 Miles Across the Martian Frontier

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Three Minutes and 13 Miles Across the Martian Frontier

NASA has compiled a three-minute-long video of the Mars Rover Opportunity's long, lonely trek across the surface of Mars.

The "life" of Opportunity is nothing short of amazing. It was launched from Earth in July 2003 and landed on Mars in January 2004 for a planned 90-day mission. Today, nearly eight years later, it's still going, currently perched at the edge of the enormous Endeavour crater, where it's conducting a geological analysis following a 13-mile journey from the Victoria crater that took three years to complete.

Three years is a long time to travel 13 miles but Opportunity tops out at about two inches per second and typically travels even slower than that. Fortunately for those of us back home, NASA has compressed those three years on Mars into three minutes on YouTube with an awesome time-lapse video of the journey. At the end of each day's drive, a photo of the horizon was taken; 309 of those photos depict this epic crossing.

Opportunity is a machine, doing no more or less than it was designed and built to do, but I still can't help but feel a little glowing admiration for it. Well done, little guy. Well done indeed.

Source: NASA, via Dvice

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I am suddenly reminded of this:

My geology professor had some nice hi-res shots of the Martian surface he used to mindfuck the class by having people guess what location on earth the pictures were taken. His trolling aside, the pictures were beautiful. It's very sobering experience to look at them and realize that's another planet, not a moon, a mother f'ing planet that we've yet to put our grubby little hands on.

Makes me wish there was as much a drive to land on mars as we had for getting to the moon. Someone piss in Putin's cheerios so we can get another cold war going.

Huh, the one with two sets of tracks intrigues me. I wonder what the little thing was doing that day.

I'm beyond interested. The fact that there's nothing there is ridiculously interesting to me.

And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

While it's the other rover, it made me think of this: http://xkcd.com/695/

And made me a little bit sad.

So is the white stuff rock, salt, or ice?

Ack, beaten.

In a completely un-sarcastic way, watching that really did put a chill up my spine. It's not every day that you get to see the face of another planet. It's one of the things that we should never lose wonder in.

If it was coming home it would deserve it's own ticker-tape parade. Hell, if an inanimate carbon rod can get one...

...I've known about all this space shit for my entire life, and about this rover since it launched, and it just hit me that it's actually on fucking Mars...

That's the amazing thing about this. We are literally watching footage of the surface of another world, beamed to us from across the vastness of space, in the comfort of our living rooms.

That is one serious mindfuck.

I just watched it and I'm overwhelmed with emotion. The thing is I'm not sure what emotion it is. I know I was about to cry a minute ago. freaking heck man
I watched part again and it's doing it again... I think it's a reaction like "it's so beautiful", like, for obvious reasons but the accomplishment and the power and the significance of it all... it's just overwhelming.
I'm practically crying over a dune buggy on Mars... if I didn't know I had the soul of a scientist before, I do now.

Zhukov:
I am suddenly reminded of this:

That's friggin' sad.

Whoever wrote that is a horrible, horrible person. ;-;

Zhukov:
I am suddenly reminded of this:

What came to mind for me was this:

EverythingIncredible:

Zhukov:
I am suddenly reminded of this:

That's friggin' sad.

Whoever wrote that is a horrible, horrible person. ;-;

Yeah, ain't it just?

As for whoever wrote it, xkcd.com. Not everyone's cup of tea, but quite well regarded and generally worth a look.

Next time send one of these...

image

Looks like rather desolated place...
...
...
... Lol...

No aliens, but I am sure someone youtube will "spot" something out and upload hes version of the video where he "points" it out. I hate humanity...

SinisterGehe:
Looks like rather desolated place...
...
...
... Lol...

No aliens, but I am sure someone youtube will "spot" something out and upload hes version of the video where he "points" it out. I hate humanity...

Well it is probably the middle of a desert and a 15 mile journey isn't going to take you that far away.

Dammit, why couldn't it have taken recordings of some giant robot, so giant transformers would appear on Earth and only seem to fuck America (Well, three cities and a damn) and Jordan up?

Zhukov:
I am suddenly reminded of this:

Oh god, I loved that comic. Brought me to a manly/nerd tear shedding incident.

Anybody who found the Rover sobering will find this one inspiring.

Andy Chalk:
That's the amazing thing about this. We are literally watching footage of the surface of another world, beamed to us from across the vastness of space, in the comfort of our living rooms.

That is one serious mindfuck.

There was a TV commercial here in Australia a few years back, it had the rover crossing Mars taking snap shots and sending them back to earth. Turns out the rover was taking photos of photos of boring landscapes the martians had printed out on a high rez printer (the printer the ad was for) and were holding up in front of the rover to see, covering the sprawling city behind them.

A mindfuck within a mindfuck.

reminds me of a movie where a similar probe rover is doing its 1 year round on the moon, it runs out of power at the end of its cycle near the crater end and every at nasa is cheering, thne the camera pans out and shows theres an alien city right across that crater head, and the rover was so close.
well mars is large. if you were to put a robot like this in middle of sachara you would also get 15 miles of desert. also didnt they find ice underground in mars?

spectrenihlus:

SinisterGehe:
Looks like rather desolated place...
...
...
... Lol...

No aliens, but I am sure someone youtube will "spot" something out and upload hes version of the video where he "points" it out. I hate humanity...

Well it is probably the middle of a desert and a 15 mile journey isn't going to take you that far away.

I know, but I find it really funny that America spends millions and millions of dollars to get pictures of rocks, dust, ash and stone... Well it might have some use for scientific purposes, but I just find it so funny! :D

Oh science :)

While I find myself quite emotional and awestruck by the fact that I just watched hundreds of photos taken on another planet from the comfort of my own home, what I found the most inspirational was just how widespread that reaction was. Looking at a lot of these comments I find myself smiling just a little bit wider, reveling slightly in the fact that there are parts of humanity that are almost universally positive and enjoyable...

A sense of wonder at the awe-inspiring concepts of space and other worlds being one of them.

I'm just an ambulance-driver/paramedic. I won't be going to space nor will I design or aid that particular leap for humanity. Still... maybe one day I'll be the one who keeps the guy who does alive. That would actually make up for all the people I keep alive while Darwin rotates furiously in his grave, yelling "Why is that bastard still alive?!".

Why is it that we can send a Machine to Mars to check the place out, but we can't equip it with a color camera?

You guys read that crazy guys Facebook comment on this? Apparently at 0:49 you can see the word G carved into the rock... I didn't see anything but hey, maybe I didn't stare at it hard enough >.>

General Vagueness:
I just watched it and I'm overwhelmed with emotion. The thing is I'm not sure what emotion it is. I know I was about to cry a minute ago. freaking heck man
I watched part again and it's doing it again... I think it's a reaction like "it's so beautiful", like, for obvious reasons but the accomplishment and the power and the significance of it all... it's just overwhelming.
I'm practically crying over a dune buggy on Mars... if I didn't know I had the soul of a scientist before, I do now.

Yeah, I know what you mean.

SinisterGehe:
No aliens, but I am sure someone youtube will "spot" something out and upload hes version of the video where he "points" it out. I hate humanity...

Heh, I thought that when you saw the tire tracks...there's no proof it was its own tire tracks...

It is beautiful and fasinating at the same time.

Why are all of the colors in black and white?

Are you telling me that NASA can afford to sent a spaceship into outer space but that it can't afford color cameras?

EDIT: Ninja'd.

That thing is broadcasting video from another god damn planet.

Holy shit. We're living in the future.

It wasn't what I expected :/

We need to put men on Mars. Because I can't deal with being on this planet anymore.

Monoochrom:
Why is it that we can send a Machine to Mars to check the place out, but we can't equip it with a color camera?

Hardcore_gamer:
Why are all of the colors in black and white?

Are you telling me that NASA can afford to sent a spaceship into outer space but that it can't afford color cameras?

EDIT: Ninja'd.

They take photos with cameras for separate ranges of light (some red, some green, some infra-red, etc). Their camera choices are based on what's useful for data collection, which doesn't always line up with how we see light. They can combine certain channels to approximate "true color" though, and every once in a while they do this and post the image. I'm not sure why they don't release all their images in color, but my guess is that they need to composite and adjust the channels in order to get it right, and doing so is time-intensive enough that they can only do it for the more spectacular images.

It's funny how it takes footage of another world to make you realise how beautiful our own world is. I mean, if we're awestruck looking at pictures from mars on earth, can you imagine how awestruck we'd be if we were looking on pictures from earth on mars.

Yaaaaay! The rover is still going! Soon, we'll send other rovers, and they'll build a colony, and then we'll come, and there'll be martians, and we'll be friends and we'll get faster than light travel and get told about the federation and we'll have our own ship and... where was I? Oh, yeah, I was right here.

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