As Spirit Fades Forever, Mars Opportunity Rover Reaches New Distance Milestone

Illustration for article titled As Spirit Fades Forever, Mars Opportunity Rover Reaches New Distance Milestone

Even as its twin goes dark, Opportunity soldiers on unabated: The plucky NASA Mars rover, on planet for seven years now, just passed an impressive 30-kilometer milestone.

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Next on its plate is the massive 14-mile-wide Endeavour crater, just two miles away.

The picture, while impressive, is not perfect. Cosmic rays have bombarded the rover more than usual lately and there is a power-related issue with the right front wheel. Nevertheless, the 3-month mission, now in year seven, has been incredible at every step of the way.

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Is it too much to ask for another seven? [CNET]

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DISCUSSION

I thought about this the other day on watching a documentary on the Mars program. If the rovers essentially die because their solar panels get blocked from the martian dust, why can't they just make some sort of windshield wiper?