NASA announced yesterday that Spirit and Opportunity survived the massive dust storms on Mars and are fully awake. I’m constantly blown away by the two rovers. I don’t know what kind of medal or honor is available to honor engineering accomplishments, but everyone involved with those two little guys deserve something.
I know the Phoenix Mars Lander that is heading for Mars and landing on May 25, 2008, is the latest and greatest, but I doubt it will have half the personality or character that Spirit and Opportunity have.
Consider that they’ve been on Mars for 43 months, and they weren’t expected to survive past the 3 month mission. Sounds a little like Gilligan’s Island. The castaways left on a three hour tour and wound up spending 3 years (seasons) on the island. The rovers left on a three month mission and they’ve been on the planet for 3+ years. Instead of Spirit and Opportunity, they should have named them Gilligan and the Skipper. Just picture one rover with Gilligan’s hat and the other with the Skipper’s roaming around Mars. Sounds like a pitch for a new TV series.