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The Road to Endeavour

Coming up on Sol 5000…

31 Jan 2018, 10:41 UTC
Coming up on Sol 5000…
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

When Opportunity was being designed, and then built, and as she was mounted on top of her rocket and then blasted from Earth, exiled to Mars, it was hoped that she would land safely and then survive for up to 90 days on the surface before failing in some way. As she flew to Mars we all pondered what might happen to her, what might end her mission. Maybe a computer glitch would claim her, or a piece of her would fail mechanically? Maybe Mars itself would kill her, by smothering her solar panels with dust, or breaking a wheel with a jagged rock? When she landed we watched her drive off her landing platform and start to trundle about her landing site, searching enthusiastically, but in vain, for evidence that the local rocks had been altered by water. Like schoolkids repeatedly staring at the clock as they sit an exam, or patients nervously checking their watches as they sit in a dentist’s waiting room we watched the sols tick by… ten… Twenty… Fifty…
We watched through our fingers as Opportunity approached the 90 sols line… and then pass it. Nothing bad happened. She didn’t fall apart like a clown ...

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