Mars Rover Opportunity is finally leaving the Victoria Crater region, heading off on a 7.5 mile trip toward the much larger Endeavor Crater. It tickles me to no end that this doughty robot, and its sleepy sidekick Spirit, are still rolling around on the Martian plains, years after they were supposed to succumb to the Red Planet’s grueling climate.
The less fortunate Phoenix isn’t mobile, and is situated in the Martian arctic, so it won’t survive this winter, though it will hopefully capture some spectacular scenes as the ice cap creeps southward from the pole to overwhelm it. Phoenix already captured imagery of snow falling on Mars, so its death throes could come with some riveting footage.
And speaking of riveting footage, Cassini continues to send amazing imagery from the Saturn system, revealing massive cyclones and mysterious hexagons at the planet’s poles, not to mention water plumes being expelled from the enigmatic Enceladus.
I’m even excited to note that the New Horizons mission is nearing the one-third point on its nearly ten year trip to Pluto. It’s a grand time to be a space nerd, indeed.