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Watch Mars Opportunity's 11-Year Mission in Just 8 Minutes

In 2004, NASA landed its Opportunity rover on Mars. Initially intended to run for 90 days, it’s now spent 11 years trundling around the planet—in that time covering a distance of over 26 miles. Here, you can watch its multi-year marathon in just 8 minutes.


This time-lapse video is made up of a series of images captured by the Oppurtunity rover’s hazard-avoidance cameras between January 2004 and April 2015, with its location mapped on the right in the full video below. The audio track has been created from vibration measurements as the rover traveled across the Martian surface: loud noises indicate that the ground was rough beneath its wheels, while quiet sounds indicate the terrain was smooth. Watch carefully, and you’ll see the rover get stuck in a sand dune for several weeks in 2005!

[NASA via Verge]

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I seriously don’t get the weird obsession we have with manned planetary exploration. We’ve discovered a lot more using rovers than we ever could with people. Could we have astronauts on an 11 year mission on Mars? Not at our level of tech. We could potentially point a launch at Encladeus or Europa right now and plonk a little robot on a moon of Jupiter and have it troll around for a few months to several years, and never be able to do the same with a manned mission.

Why are people obsessed with humans exploring Mars?