NASA lets go of Spirit

The Little Mars Rover That Could, finally can’t.  Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy celebrates the “life” and accomplishments of the Spirit Mars Rover:

Designed to last for three months, Spirit kept on roving for over six years. Imagine having a car, a computer, that lasted for 25 times the warranty!

Or living to be 1500 years old. How much could you accomplish in that time?

Spirit’s made good use of its lifespan.

So while I’m sad about this, I know (as I wrote when we lost communication with Spirit last year) that this robot is one of the most successful NASA missions of all time. It’s hard not to anthropomorphize our work sometimes, and I think it’s appropriate to be sad. But I’m also very happy that Spirit could do what it did. It was a triumph of human engineering, human cleverness, and the very human need to explore what’s around the next corner… even when that corner is a hundred million kilometers away.

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