Martian rover Spirit… racing to survive!

Here is a fascinating story from Astronomy Picture of the Day about the rover Spirit on Mars… racing to survive!

Explanation: The Martian rover Spirit is now in the race of its life. The rolling robot is trying to reach an outpost to spend the winter, but it keeps getting bogged down in soft sand on Mars. Earth scientists hope that Spirit can reach a slope on the northern edge of the unusual feature dubbed Home Plate, before the end of this month when northern winter will be phasing in on Mars. Reaching this slope will likely allow the rover to tilt enough toward the Sun to create a needed increase in the efficiency of its energy-absorbing solar panels. This map shows the path of Spirit from July 2004 until just last month.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jason in San Antonio says:

    Apparently scientists have dubbed the Martian sands “Tartarus,” and according to those links, it won’t be able to recharge its solar panels. Made me think of this:

    Ne absorbeat eas tartarus, necadant in obscurum!

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    Is this one of the maps from the Sunday comics where Billy of Family Circus traces the activities of his day?

  3. Prayers for the wayward rover…

    :-) Gordo

  4. Andy says:


    I have to say this post stunned me. Somehow I found it quite surprising that a catholic priest can be interested in space travel and exploration. Wow! That’s something refreshing, indeed. And you still have time to do all that even including all the postings appearing here.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    surprising that a catholic priest can be interested in space travel and exploration?

    Not if you think of the key roles so many Catholic clerics — including Copernicus and a host of Jesuits — have played in the history of astronomy, the fact that the Vatican Observatory is one of the world’s oldest, etc. (As an incidental aside, it might be interesting to know how many comets are named after the priests who discovered them.)

    More personally, the holiest parish priest I’ve ever known well followed space exploration so closely, right up to his death at age 83, that he had the biggest collection of taped TV science and astronomy programs I’ve ever seen. More surprising is anyone interested in God who’s not fascinated by His Creation.

  6. RBrown says:

    The Big Bang theory came from a Belgian priest, Georges Lemaitre.

  7. Andy says:

    Well, not *that* surprised, I was just used to seeing prayer explanations and stories related to Church’s life here. I didn’t suspected that with so much focus and so much energy invested in that Father Z. still has time to pursue such unusual interests. Unusual, since even in general population most people are not following our ventures into space.

  8. Allan Potts says:

    I think we might have the traditional mass on Mars, before we get it in some parishes in the U.S. We here in San Diego, have the beginings of some movement, Deo gratias.

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