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The Road to Endeavour

SOL 5000

16 Feb 2018, 10:07 UTC
SOL 5000
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

At just after 1.20 this morning, I watched the date and time on the “Mars Clock” app tick-over from Sol 4999 23.59 to Sol 50000 00.00 and (after several practice attempts!) took this historic screen-grab…

Look at that. She did it. Opportunity did it.
She reached Sol 5000 on Mars.
I know I sound like a stuck CD (“Dad, what’s a DC?” “Oh, just Google it, son…”) every time I say this, and I’m sure most of you reading this will know it already, but it’s important to remember that when she was launched, back in 2003, everyone had their fingers crossed that IF she landed safely (which was by no means certain) she might last as long as 90 days on Mars, and drive as far as a kilometre, before failing. Some thought 90 sols was a reasonable figure to aim for, others thought it was very optimistic. So when she landed in Eagle Crater, in that “Cosmic Hole In One”, we were all watching the clock, watching the sols tick by, and Sol 90 seemed to dawn in no time at all. Then Sol 91… 92… 93… and nothing happened. She kept going. And going. Her wheels didn’t ...

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