Just Another Dead Martian
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Opportunity and its twin rover named Spirit landed on the red planet in January for what was planned to be a day mission. Spirit was declared dead in , but Opportunity spent nearly 15 years exploring Mars, covering more than 28 miles. In August , Opportunity was joined by another rover, named Curiosity. Newsweek publishes some of the spectacular images captured by Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, from selfies to breathtaking Martian mountain landscapes.
The War of the Worlds
Shortly after landing in the Eagle Meridiani Planum crater on January 25, , Opportunity set off to explore the planet, taking one last look back at its lander, as seen in the photo below. On the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Opportunity performed a memorial event on Mars. The rover photographed an American flag printed on one of its components, which was made from aluminum recovered from the site of the Twin Towers shortly after their destruction on September 11, A Martian dust devil twists through the valley below, in this image captured by Opportunity from its perch high on Knudsen Ridge on March 31, Just like the ones seen in desert landscapes on Earth, Martian dust devils are created when warm air rises from the ground, forming a column that starts spinning and picking up any loose dust.
As the sun rose over Mars on February 15, , Opportunity recorded the dawning of its 4,th Martian day. Not bad for what was originally planned to be a day mission. When this image was captured, the rover had covered round 28 miles since landing on Mars. Opportunity took this selfie in late March after winds had removed much of the dust from the rover's solar arrays. Quite an improvement on how it had looked two months earlier. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on August 6, This amazing full-color high-resolution selfie was taken two months later and stitched together from 55 separate images.
Could There Be Life on Mars Today?
Martian selfies aren't just cool—they allow mission engineers to check the state of the rover, looking for problems such as dust accumulation and wheel wear. On April 21, , Curiosity photographed one of its damaged wheels. The rover's six independently driven aluminum wheels are dented and pitted with holes from driving over Martian rocks. What's the brightest "star" in the Martian night sky?
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The answer is Earth. This image, taken by Curiosity at about 80 minutes after sunset on January 31, , shows Earth shining brightly from about 99 million miles away, with our moon visible below. When I passed streets that ran northward it grew in volume, and houses and buildings seemed to deaden and cut it off again. It came in a full tide down Exhibition Road. I stopped, staring towards Kensington Gardens, wondering at this strange, remote wailing.
It was as if that mighty desert of houses had found a voice for its fear and solitude. I turned northwards, marvelling, towards the iron gates of Hyde Park. I had half a mind to break into the Natural History Museum and find my way up to the summits of the towers, in order to see across the park. But I decided to keep to the ground, where quick hiding was possible, and so went on up the Exhibition Road. All the large mansions on each side of the road were empty and still, and my footsteps echoed against the sides of the houses. At the top, near the park gate, I came upon a strange sight—a bus overturned, and the skeleton of a horse picked clean.
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I puzzled over this for a time, and then went on to the bridge over the Serpentine. The voice grew stronger and stronger, though I could see nothing above the housetops on the north side of the park, save a haze of smoke to the northwest. The desolating cry worked upon my mind. The mood that had sustained me passed. The wailing took possession of me.
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I found I was intensely weary, footsore, and now again hungry and thirsty. It was already past noon. Why was I wandering alone in this city of the dead? Why was I alone when all London was lying in state, and in its black shroud? I felt intolerably lonely. My mind ran on old friends that I had forgotten for years. I thought of the poisons in the chemists' shops, of the liquors the wine merchants stored; I recalled the two sodden creatures of despair, who so far as I knew, shared the city with myself…. I came into Oxford Street by the Marble Arch, and here again were black powder and several bodies, and an evil, ominous smell from the gratings of the cellars of some of the houses.
I grew very thirsty after the heat of my long walk. With infinite trouble I managed to break into a public-house and get food and drink. I was weary after eating, and went into the parlour behind the bar, and slept on a black horsehair sofa I found there. And as I emerged from the top of Baker Street, I saw far away over the trees in the clearness of the sunset the hood of the Martian giant from which this howling proceeded. I was not terrified.
I came upon him as if it were a matter of course. I watched him for some time, but he did not move. He appeared to be standing and yelling, for no reason that I could discover. I tried to formulate a plan of action.
Perhaps I was too tired to be very fearful. Certainly I was more curious to know the reason of this monotonous crying than afraid. I turned back away from the park and struck into Park Road, intending to skirt the park, went along under the shelter of the terraces, and got a view of this stationary, howling Martian from the direction of St. John's Wood. A couple of hundred yards out of Baker Street I heard a yelping chorus, and saw, first a dog with a piece of putrescent red meat in his jaws coming headlong towards me, and then a pack of starving mongrels in pursuit of him.
He made a wide curve to avoid me, as though he feared I might prove a fresh competitor. I came upon the wrecked handling-machine halfway to St.
NASA's history-making Mars rover Opportunity declared dead - CNET
John's Wood station. At first I thought a house had fallen across the road. It was only as I clambered among the ruins that I saw, with a start, this mechanical Samson lying, with its tentacles bent and smashed and twisted, among the ruins it had made. The forepart was shattered. It seemed as if it had driven blindly straight at the house, and had been overwhelmed in its overthrow. It seemed to me then that this might have happened by a handling-machine escaping from the guidance of its Martian. I could not clamber among the ruins to see it, and the twilight was now so far advanced that the blood with which its seat was smeared, and the gnawed gristle of the Martian that the dogs had left, were invisible to me.
Wondering still more at all that I had seen, I pushed on towards Primrose Hill. Far away, through a gap in the trees, I saw a second Martian, as motionless as the first, standing in the park towards the Zoological Gardens, and silent. A little beyond the ruins about the smashed handling-machine I came upon the red weed again, and found the Regent's Canal, a spongy mass of dark-red vegetation.
It was, as it were, cut off. The silence came like a thunderclap. The dusky houses about me stood faint and tall and dim; the trees towards the park were growing black. All about me the red weed clambered among the ruins, writhing to get above me in the dimness. Night, the mother of fear and mystery, was coming upon me. But while that voice sounded the solitude, the desolation, had been endurable; by virtue of it London had still seemed alive, and the sense of life about me had upheld me.
Then suddenly a change, the passing of something—I knew not what—and then a stillness that could be felt. Nothing but this gaunt quiet. London about me gazed at me spectrally. The windows in the white houses were like the eye sockets of skulls. About me my imagination found a thousand noiseless enemies moving.
Terror seized me, a horror of my temerity. In front of me the road became pitchy black as though it was tarred, and I saw a contorted shape lying across the pathway. I could not bring myself to go on. I turned down St. John's Wood Road, and ran headlong from this unendurable stillness towards Kilburn.
I hid from the night and the silence, until long after midnight, in a cabmen's shelter in Harrow Road. But before the dawn my courage returned, and while the stars were still in the sky I turned once more towards Regent's Park. I missed my way among the streets, and presently saw down a long avenue, in the half-light of the early dawn, the curve of Primrose Hill.
On the summit, towering up to the fading stars, was a third Martian, erect and motionless like the others. An insane resolve possessed me. I would die and end it. And I would save myself even the trouble of killing myself. I marched on recklessly towards this Titan, and then, as I drew nearer and the light grew, I saw that a multitude of black birds was circling and clustering about the hood. At that my heart gave a bound, and I began running along the road.
I hurried through the red weed that choked St.