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The Martian Chronicles

Curiosity is Going Home

2 Aug 2012, 05:30 UTC
Curiosity is Going Home
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This morning when I was walking the dog, I paused to appreciate the sight of the early sunlight shining through the dew-drenched grass and sparkling on the dripping ponderosa pine branches. It was a nice peaceful moment, and it made me think of what a different world we’re sending Curiosity to. The amount of liquid water that I saw glimmering on the grass this morning probably hasn’t been seen anywhere on Mars in billions of years.
In terms of the longevity of our rovers, that’s certainly a good thing. Think of it: Opportunity has been on the surface of Mars for eight years and not a drop of water has fallen on her. Curiosity’s primary mission is about two Earth years, and who knows how much longer it will last, all while navigating a bone-dry desert.

A lot of times people will ask whether our rovers ever come home after exploring Mars. It was even the subject of an xkcd comic, but it really misses the point. The rovers are built on Earth, but Mars is their home. On Earth the gravity is too high and the environment is too wet. MSL’s massive arm can’t extend all the way under ...

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