Endurance may contain astronomical amounts of data to be collected, and anyway the mission has already been more than succesful. The robots are already working fine for longer than expected too.
For those who don’t know what I am talking about, the robot Opportunity has reached the border of a crater called Endurance. Scientists find this crater more fascinating than anything ever seen before on the surface of Mars. But if Opportunity gets into the crater, it will never be able to climb out again.
The robots will be sending data for as long as September if things run as expected. If Opportunity gets down now, NASA will have a superb study on the crater, but will sacrifice the scouting that could be done on other areas.
So, should Opportunity go down the crater? I think there will be more gains than losses if it does so and vote yes.
True, but the fact is, that as soon as humans started settling in and farming, we’ve been fucking up this planet. It’s been accelerated by the Industrial Revolution, but it still stands.
And all we can do is slow down the damage we do and perhaps repair a little of it. But we’re still going to continue to fuck Earth up. Thus the only way to un-fuck Earth up is to kill the human race off.
Still, once expects to keep one’s house clean. I’m not against trying to clean up earth, I’m against cleaning up earth to EXCLUSION OF ALL ELSE.
That said, it’s human nature to explore, to struggle and survive (and even prosper) against well… anything.
By the way, i say drop the sucker into the crater and try to get another probe in.
The questions that arise:
1-why is the crater so fascinating?
2-is it likely to find something as equally fascinating elsewhere?
3-what else do they know about the surroundings?
4-how sure are they that the robot is KO in September?
Sin, the crater might give some huge insight into Mars geological past. If ever there were large water bodies on Mars, that crater may be compared, geologically, to a seafloor.
As for other places like that nearby, there may be some, but Endurance is the deepest crater in the region. It makes for an easier study on the layers of rock.
As for the surroundings… I got no info on that.
And as for the KO being in September, I read it in a lot of articles. One of them is this one:
A quote form this article:
“Even though the extended mission is approved to September, and the rovers could last even longer, they also might stop in their tracks next week or next month. They are operating under extremely harsh conditions. However, while Spirit is past its ‘warranty,’ we look forward to continued discoveries by both rovers in the months ahead.”
As a side note, Endurance is full of Hematite. I have a polished hematite in my rock collection
The whole thing about the dillema is that more exploring outside the crater means less time to study it by the inside. It’s just that even if the rover spends months inside there, there will still be a lot left to study after the mission is over. It takes a real long time to make a proper study.