July 9th, 2012
01:59 PM ET

Mars rover captures Martian panorama

NASA has celebrated two Martian milestones by revealing a stunning new 360-degree panoramic image of the planet's surface, taken by a camera on board the venerable Mars rover Opportunity.

Opportunity was one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2003 for a mission originally expected to last just three months. While Opportunity's sister craft, Spirit, stopped functioning in 2010, Opportunity is still going strong. It passed its 3,000th day on the planet last week.

Also, last week brought the 15th anniversary of the presence of NASA robots on Mars. The Pathfinder craft landed on July 4, 1997.

To mark the occasion, NASA scientists have unveiled their latest picture of the red planet, a spectacular panorama showing the view from the dusty outcrop where the rover spent four months over the past winter.

The image is made up of 817 separate pictures taken by Opportunity's pancam, or panoramic camera.

Jim Bell, the lead scientist on the pancam, said in a statement that the view provided "rich geologic context for the detailed chemical and mineral work that the team did at Greeley Haven over the rover's fifth Martian winter."

Bell, of Arizona State University, Tempe, said the picture also offered a detailed view of the largest impact crater to which either rover had driven.

Greeley Haven was named after Ronald Greeley (1939 – 20011), a member of the Mars Rover team who taught planetary science at Arizona State University.

"Ron Greeley was a valued colleague and friend, and this scene, with its beautiful wind-blown drifts and dunes, captures much of what Ron loved about Mars," Steve Squyres of Cornell University said in a statement.

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Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Taxpayer1

    I want a refund.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Tamer

    Members of the American Library Association Learning (ALA) Round Table, for example pedcuord two sell-out training workshops at the 2009 ALA Conference in Chicago this summer while other groups were struggling to attract

    August 3, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  3. Me

    If I was super rich I would secretly send another space craft there just to drop off a couple empty pizza boxes and some beer cans. Would love to see NASA explain it..

    July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  4. hubrisdenied

    the really hilarious part of all this(if you are into sick humor) is when they find evidence we used to live on mars.....but strangled the life out of the planet and had to move to earth.....wonder if people would behave differently with the one planet we have.....somehow i doubt it

    July 10, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  5. michiganRefugee

    Really great images; fantastic that we can see what Mars looks like from another planet. Congrats to the tech team that accomplished this amazing mission.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Moiphy

      I agree. We really needed to spend millions to get better photos of an uninhabitable planet.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:45 am |
      • CommonSense

        Maybe we should have just stayed in our caves. Exploring all those uninhabited places on earth was so unproductive.

        July 10, 2012 at 8:08 am |
      • Bryan

        Moiphy, without exploration, "America" would never had been discovered.

        July 10, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        I'm glad you agree, I mean, what are these people thinking who don't agree with this? Yes, a lot of money was spent on this, but it went to scientists and engineers and hundreds of other people at nasa thereby putting back into the US economy money that may have been sent overseas. Not to mention all the scientific advances.

        I guess these people who don't agree just think these things blast into space with millions of dollars on board just to dump it all on some other planet. That would just be stupid to believe. Don't you think that's stupid not to back this stuff? People sure are stupid.

        July 10, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  6. krozar

    For those claiming it's a waste of money. The mission cost less than $800 million (the extensions added some more, but not a whole lot). Go and see how fast $800 million is spent in Afghanistan.

    July 10, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  7. sagala

    It's awesome for US science for dacade, this time I could understand why the US having trouble for Budged this year, take a look the NASA space have been spend major fund for this mission. but overall how better if Al qaeda take part too in order to conciousness that the world would't as a piece place.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • 4q2

      What?

      July 10, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Scott

      SPEAK... ENGLISH.... NOW

      July 10, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  8. no namer man

    how much to ship my land cruiser to mars? that terrain needs rock tire tracks

    July 10, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • CommonSense

      More than a few footprints would be even better ...

      July 10, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • krozar

      IIRC in 2014 the Mars Laboratory will arrive. It's the size of a pickup truck.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  9. blessedgeek

    Looks like Nevada to me.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  10. Krisint

    If Spanish queen thought that funding Columbus was waste. he would not have found new world... there would not been an US

    July 10, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Tim

      Well, things would have been different, but I am not sure the western hemisphere would have never been discovered. The British started sending ships around the world in the 16 and 17 hundreds. Since most Asian people were not into exploring, back then; chances are, if it were not for Columbus, South Americas would be speaking English, French, and Dutch now.

      July 10, 2012 at 3:07 am |
      • Tim

        I meant, if it were not Columbus...

        July 10, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • TVRS

      The world would have been a better place!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 10, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Emma

      I'd imagine the native Indians would have been better off. The new world had been discovered long before, that is a very short sighted view.However, I do agree with the core of what you are saying which is that exploration is worthy of the worlds time and effort. The engineers at nasa are the new age of explorers.

      July 10, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • atroy

      It's apparent that your school district didn't fund English classes.

      July 10, 2012 at 4:49 am |
      • Emma

        English is obviously not his/her first language. No need to tease.

        July 10, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  11. Aleahgirl

    What interest's me is that alot of folk's on here take the time to rant and rave about anything and everything.....other than the article itself. NASA, you did an awesome job :) I look forward to seeing more.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Poppawolf

      Fantastic pics ... you rock!

      July 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  12. Dash

    We haven't even explored the depths of our own world! And there's much that could have been done to help the less fortunate with that money. We have ZERO business sending anything out into space except maybe satellites for communication within our OWN atmosphere. I watch StarTrek and StarWars and I love the concept but, I feel we are still too primitive and need to focus on ourselves for now.

    July 10, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Jim

      Yawn. Nothing new in your spew. Except that you misspelled both Star Wars and Star Trek.. neither of which have anything to do with reality.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Poppawolf

      Baka,it is man's nature to explore....this world will not sustain us forever, stay here and rot with the rest of humanity

      July 10, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Brett

      Do you seriously think they launch cash into space and dump it? Space programs employs doctors, engineers, janitors, manufacturers, miners, cooks, construction workers... Not to mention the endless list of technology it helps develop from portable tv cameras to microwaves to parts of the device you used to write your rant. What better way to help our people and our environment than to develop technology that is self sufficient and has to operate without an environment?

      July 10, 2012 at 2:15 am |
      • CommonSense

        "Do you seriously think they launch cash into space and dump it?" – great line, Brett! I'm going to have to "borrow" it at some point.

        July 10, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Martina

      I agree. You are still too primitive.

      July 10, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Anon

      Exploration requires research> research requires technology> technology increase research / production / lower prices. Good enough for me...

      July 10, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • Ed

      How about we trade in one brand new F-22 Raptor instead. They cost about the same.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  13. Hotaru

    When American astronauts finally land on Mars, they will find a Chinatown is already there.

    July 10, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • guest

      if ther is an american astronaut.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Scandalf

      I bet there'll be a "dry-creaning" service as well:

      July 10, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  14. William Nettie

    hey, look there is a sign over in the corner of the picture! What? It says there is a walmart and a mc donalds coming
    in the spring of 2014! Wait that doesn't seem fair! What about wendy's and burger king!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  15. worm

    U.S.A waste millions of dollars for photos of nothing N.A.S.A is a waste of tax money.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • jj

      I think these are an amazing bargain not wasted money. This is how mankind understands the universe.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • bullet1

      You win the cigar because you are dead right. Folks dying because they cannot afford to go to a doctor and we are throwing money at NASA like it is confetti. They could have gone to South Texas and took that damn picture and maybe have captured an illegal or two in the bargain.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:17 am |
      • Les Too

        Folks are being saved by technologies that came directly from the NASA program. The high cost of medical care is caused by corporate greed. The whiny anti immigrant, conservative jobless folks are NOT lining up to pick lettuces and tomatoes so farms are being forced to beg for prisoners to work the fields. And the single largest irresponsible government welfare expenditure is given to the fossil fuel industry. NASA has a budget that is a drop in the bucket compared to billions of dollars in unneeded corporate welfare payments. Almost every piece of modern technology is somehow connected to NASA research.

        July 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • cja

      As a nation we wast more money buying ring tones for our cell phones. I think the cost to send these was something like $3 from each person in the US. The money spend on this is NOTHING compared to the the pointless war in Aganistan or like I said the money wasted on ring tones

      July 10, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Given that this device has lasted 7 years beyond its original 3 month design life, I'd call this one of the biggest bargains in the last hundred years or so.

      July 10, 2012 at 4:12 am |
  16. Arthur S.

    How is it possible that we Americans can put a rover light years away working perfectly after 8 years when it was expected to work only 3 months – while our cars work for 3 months when it is supposed to work for at least 8 years – with all its proper maintenance too.....

    July 10, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Space

      Because the other half of the country believes that Mars is light years away.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • PR

      Your car didnt cost billions of dollars.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Brian

      You do know Mars is not light years away, right? The farthest man made object is only ONE-LIGH-DAY away from earth and that is the Voyager probe. Voyager is just now leaving our solar system

      July 10, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Les Too

      Manufacturing depends on things wearing out and breaking. Most hard goods are designed to last only a certain length of time so buying replacements will be necessary. Cars are generally designed to last about 3 yrs. which is the average amount of time needed to pay off the loan. Most other things are designed to last a year or so before being replaced. The exception to this is certain home building products and certain brands of hand tools. This is what makes capitalism work..

      July 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      Mars is about 12.5 light minutes away ... not even close to light years.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  17. JG

    OK...sorry for the last comment.
    It is extremely important to explore space as far as possible. However, I doubt, in our current disastrous political environment, it will be possible for the USA. Probably China, Russia, or even India will take the lead in space exploration. Very sad for the US.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • jj

      I hope Chinas recent advances in space exploration will revitalize the USA willpower to support NASA.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  18. JG

    I've driven by there on the way to Vegas.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Martina

      I guess that;s how Vegas would look like without all the stupid people and cheesy "architecture".

      July 10, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  19. Ahh...

    I'm waiting for curiosity to land in 3 weeks!!!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Fritz

      I'm hot to trot too over Curiosity! I don't watch TV anymore, but I'll be glued to my monitor for any word on its successful atmosphere reentry and landing. Very exciting stuff!

      July 10, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  20. trieu

    great iods!

    July 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  21. Galaxy Prime

    I think when humans start to colonize Mars the first two people should have the names Adam and Eve – that will really mess up the minds of people thousands of years in the future.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • guest

      Just wait for the inevitable Martian Revolution when they declare independence from Earth.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:10 am |
      • Fritz

        The citizens of L1 Cislunar will declare their independance first. Over 2 centuries before the Martians.

        July 10, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  22. Hadenuffyet

    Nice story bro , but now let's do something a little more adventurous. Send people.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  23. FrankR

    What a waste of money. So what did we learn?

    July 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • pesceman3

      You are so incredibly naive.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • shavantha

        There is no use wasting time to understand what life on mars will be like. the best will be to focus on self. society and country and aim at improving those

        July 10, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • DanBun

      Much of what we learned is simply technology and engineering. These are the types of investments with long-term payoffs to our economy and society. Scientifically, we have learned a great deal about the surface of Mars, specifically that there was indeed water on the surface. In a broad sense, this is simple exploration: those nations that explore grow; those that don't, too often stagnate.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • Ahh...

        agree...

        July 10, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • TB

      Guys, guys; dont be too hard on FrankR. He's probably just one of these people who have no imagination or motivation and who think our money should be spent to give him a free ride for the rest of his life because he has no imagination or motivation. Most likely it was his parent's fault.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Ahh...

      We learn the mars is just like our arizona desert. Anyway, I'm waiting for curiosity to land in 3 weeks!!!

      July 10, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Fritz

      Um, let me guess. How to waste money?

      July 10, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Dave

      The Space program is one of the best investments this nation ever made. If not for NASA we wouldnt have the personal computer, Teflon pans, Velcro, Duct tape, Fire resistant suits, Cell phones, The internet, cordless power tools, efficient air travel, cable tv, and countless other things we use every day. All of those industries exist because of the space program, an awesome return on our investment!

      July 10, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  24. Michael

    Proof of martians – Crop Circles on Mars!

    July 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • sakthi

      and FrankR

      July 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  25. schoolsub

    Where are all of the little green men?

    July 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • volsocal

      Right behind the camera.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  26. crappygovernment

    Don't you think it's odd that we get better resolution pics from Mars than the Moon, which is way closer. How about some high res pics of the alleged Apollo Moon landings sites instead? Feel free to click on my name to see my tribute site to NASA.

    July 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • larry

      Take a llok at this site. They have great pictures taken from LRU and processed by ASU LRO program. The progam is run by Doctor Mark Roberson.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • larry

        Forgot the link http://www.lroc.asu.edu/

        July 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • CyberSpy

        Thank you for sharing that link Larry. They have some terrific images there.

        July 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • n2video

      Get your red-blue glasses out and go to THIS page: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/anaglyph/

      No fewer than 2,611 3D anaglyph images of the surface of Mars. Some absolutely stunning geological features there.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • DanBun

      We do not currenty have a rover on the Moon. If we did, we could indeed provide such high resolution photographs. There are plans to send some modern rovers to the Moon; if I am not mistaken, China and India are most actively planning that.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • volsocal

      The cameras we sent to the moon in the '70's were actually pretty good. The big difference is the atmosphere on Mars. Softens the light a bit.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  27. anon

    "New" picture? Welcome to last effin weekCNN. I saw this image online (and downloaded it) last week. How about you do some real effin' journalism? Oh yeahj, because you only have 200,000 viewers per day and can only pay the bills from the 48¢ you force the cable companies to pay you per subscriber. I can't wait til you go under to bloggers. Oh, you probably won't, I mean with Fareed Zakaria going to the White House every week (he's on the guest list) for his memos... junk. CNN has turned into garbage.

    July 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I get this and don't pay squat..lol

      July 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Latzi

      What brings you here?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  28. nick

    is it just me...or is mars gradually becoming more colorful and less red and dead and the years go by

    July 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Fritz

      Yeah, i noticed that too. Looks like the martian daffodils are gonna sprout any year now.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  29. canocorn

    Um, I think the first Viking Lander landed on July 20, 1976. And I am pretty sure that it is a robot as it had to actively take samples of the soil. So that would be coming up on the 36th anniversary of NASA robots on Mars. not just passing the 15th.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Yossarian

      The sentence really should have said the anniversary of rovers on Mars.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • canocorn

        True.

        July 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  30. Coflyboy

    Unless we change our ways of thinking about ecology, Earth will soon look similar.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  31. Vidallius

    Adam says "NASA needed better and faster pumps for rocket engines, that gave us better pumps on fire trucks". Why not just make better pumps for fire trucks". Is NASA only good for what trickles down from it? All this "exploring the universe" – is it REALLY doing us any good? It seems NASA is NOT solving the world's problems.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • thermion7

      NASA has a huge Earth Science Division... Atmospherics, Earth imaging, climatology, space weather, Aeronautic Testing, geophysics, meteorology, launch systems, wind tunnels, telescopes, materials testing etc.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
      • Vidallius

        I agree, but can these "branches of science" only exist as derivatives of NASA?

        July 10, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Nemo

      It is not NASA's mandate to solve human problems. They and now private companies delve into the one aspect that has nothing to do with our problems as being humans, but everything to with our humanity to appreciate the wonder of the universe we live in, and to question our place and purpose in that universe, unfettered by our 'problems'.

      The problems that tug at the elbow of human society of are of our own creation. We have shown we can dominate a planet, use resources, eat, sleep, reproduce, die, but so far can't dominate our ability for greed, cruelty, and lack of compasion. Those problems we need to solve ourselves as humans part of our human 'race', and not expect an agency or government, or religion to do it for us.

      For now, we enjoy the snippets of wonder for our universe, through NASA or anyone else, to remind us what we are missing out on while we solve our issues on this Earth.

      N

      July 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • Jason

        Well said!! I daydream of the perfect things to say when the crybabys start whining about how space exploration is wrong because of the other problems we face. If they are so very concerned about it, quit telling everyone about it and do something constructive to work towards fixing those things.

        July 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Alan

      What? That's like saying would leaving my house really make a difference in my life.' Just because you awesome day to day life isn't obviously impacted by the Mars rover, it does not mean that these things don't matter. It is our need to explore and innovate that has allowed us to survive. Explorations in the late Renaissance gave us food, building materials and opportunities – without which we may not have gotten to where we are today. Space is huge, larger than anything in our daily experience. It is also full of materials. It seems to take a loooong tome to get to Mars at two years. Wait, wasn't Magellan at sea for several years? Maybe he should have stayed home. I mean, what's good is he doing his own country by exploring anyway?

      July 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
      • Vidallius

        Alan, you say "It is our need to explore and innovate that has allowed us to survive." This is true generally, but not with respect to NASA. NASA is a wonderful "jobs program", but it is (and I say this with the wisdom provided by 30 years of retrospect) more a tool of romantic dreamers than anything else. Sure, keep it going, but only to the extent that we can afford it. Geopolitical and economic constraints can't be denied, these are the chokehold, not my cynicism. MRSA, cancer, and the Social Security boondoggle are my priorities, and NASA has made no strides toward a solution to either.

        You also say "space is full of materials". Now you're really being ridiculous. There's been pie-in-the-sky "talk" of mining asteroids – good heavens boy, is this what you're talking about? This will certainly never be cost effective or practical, my prediction is that whatever plans are made in this direction will never get off the drawing board. It's pure foolishness – even science fiction has it's limits, which at some point becomes bizarre fantasy, and there's a lot of that going on lately. Exactly what do we need "mined" that we can't get here on Earth?

        The problem with modern medicine in particular is that NO ONE CAN AFFORD IT! You’re thinking an asteroid contains the cure to some disease. Think this through: no one will be able to AFFORD this imagined cure, given the expense of creating it! Or do you have some delusion that big pharma will just give it away or be subsidized by an already overtaxed populace?

        July 10, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • canocorn

      NASA is doing what humans (and other animals such as dolphins) do, and that is explore things that pique our curiosity. If we waited until we created a perfect world, we would never explore anything. You undoubtedly do the same sort of thing by going out to eat at a fine restaurant occasionally even though there is still world hunger.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
      • DanBun

        Well said.

        July 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
      • Vidallius

        Man exploring space isn’t equivalent to dolphins swimming around. And dolphins don’t explore, otherwise “dolphin knowledge” wouldn’t be the same as it was a million years ago. They swim around pointlessly, which is hardly equivalent to man flying a rocket to the moon. And what does all this have to do with where I eat and world hunger?

        July 10, 2012 at 3:27 am |
      • Les Too

        Which dolphin told you that? You are saying that dolphins do not learn, explore, think or communicate which is ludicrous. Humans are also animals. We are not some specially created specimen of life. The rest of the animal kingdom is not less than humans and many are perfectly capable of recognizing the world around them and interacting in new ways with it. Many share the same mental, emotional and physical responses that man has. I would suggest a brush up on the modern scientific findings regarding awareness in the rest of the animal kingdom especially in regard to cetaceans and the other hominids. We are not as different as you suggest.

        July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Vidallius

        Les Too, actually, Humans are special. We rank far and above any other animal in our ability to know and understand not only our environment, but that which extends far beyond it, which is quite unique to Humans. No other species is aware of the World and that there is something beyond the World. Just us. Most animals spend their days hunting for food, you must have this confused with “exploring”. In exploring we go BEYOND known limits, to ADVANCE our knowledge. No other species does this, not even dolphins. Dolphins and all other species know only what they have to know in order to survive, and nothing more. In contrast, the profits of Human exploration are boundless and take us way beyond mere survival. Dolphins and other creatures will never get beyond mere survival. Even the extent to which Humans “explore” is quite limited, since most of our lives are defined by ROUTINE.

        You’re anthropomorphizing to think that “many animals share the same mental, emotional and physical responses that man has”.

        July 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
      • Les Too

        Then we must agree to disagree. Anyone that has spent time around animals other than humans can vouch that they can get sad and cry, know when they have done wrong, are aware when you are ill, etc. The only thing that is different for humans is that they have not been able to successfully live in the wild without artificial shelters, worship a higher being, and, of course, all the technology we take for granted is unnecessary to the rest of the animal world that, being older species, have learned to adapt to their surroundings. Ants and bees are far superior in engineering skills. Chimpanzees learn sign language and use it appropriately. Dogs can understand any lanquage that a 4 yr. old can. The list goes on but technical advancement is merely a part of the human condition and is nothing that makes it in anyway "superior" to any other animal. It severely limits our interaction with the rest of the biosphere. We are more like viruses than any other creature. To test other animals using human scales is disingenuous at best. Even chimps make tools including spears to kill fleeing prey.

        July 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • MIJohn

      How about the satellites that make it practical to send data (such as your statement) from one side of the world to the other no matter where the two points are? Those are a direct outcome of space exploration. There is also knowing when a potential asteroid impact is coming and any hope of preventing it. Then there is that without solar exploration we wouldn't know when a solar flare that can screw up electronics is about to happen. And that is without the "trickle down" technology that no private company will develop because they don't see an immediate need that generates 1000% profits & huge bonuses for CEOs.

      Just because you are too short-sighted and self-centered to notice long-term gains doesn't mean something isn't useful. Heck, general relativity and quantum mechanics aren't "useful" as most people define useful" but without them we would still be wondering why the universe works the way it does.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
      • Vidallius

        Email is not derived from NASA. Far from it, it's actually a British invention. And the invention of satellites has nothing to do with "exploring space".

        You say "we wouldn't know when a solar flare that can screw up electronics is about to happen". Our modern electronics do not take into account the existence of solar flares – nor should they. Solar flares are a modern "distraction" borne of an "excessive awareness" of "what's out there". In actuality, they don't affect life on Earth. Solar flares have been around as long as the sun, it's nothing to worry about.

        July 10, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • Moose

      It really boils down to this: No one cares about fire trucks other than firefighters and a select other few. You look at two headlines. One is about better pumps for fire trucks that have cut the time to put out a building in half and are destined to save countless lives. Oh yea that's great! you say as you scroll over to the headlines below it. You read another that's about big-a$$ rocket boosters for a robot destined for f0ck!ng mars: yea, you're reading that one! Its basic human psychology. We're much more interested in the grand and flashy than the mundane. And that's perfectly fine and natural and shouldn't be discounted as stupid. Deal with it! And more importantly, work with it. That's what countless of gov't agencies have done for years. Otherwise, mundane projects such as laptops and global communication would never have gotten the money that they deserve. There is no way around human psychology aside from the indirect. Mars is a project of discovery and human endeavor. Money for fire trucks is pork barrel.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • DanBun

      But NASA isn't supposed to solve the world's problems.
      They are supposed to explore the universe.
      And they do it on less than one percent of the federal budget. Surely the USA can afford that.
      NASA has the ability to inspire us, both as a nation and as a species. It is one of the few agencies looking towards the future. We are learning, often just for the sake of gaining knowledge. And we do it for all of humanity. Plus, we get some good spin-offs, and we advance science and engineering. That's a win-win scenario.
      Throw another $20 Billion/year at one of the problems you refer to: will we solve it? How much has been spent on that problem in the last 20 years? Was it worth it?

      July 9, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • guest

      Think about it, if space explorations and colonization is possible, people can leave earth. I think that alone could solve many of earth problems if you get what I am saying.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  32. Zachary

    1939 – 20011, That's an old fella!

    July 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • MacK

      After 18,072 years you would think he would be known for more than just teaching at ASU.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • TheBob

      No, not particularly old. Regardsless of how long he's expected to live, this is only 2012.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  33. Jerome Horowitz

    So the government can build a solar-powered all-terrain vehicle to put on Mars, but we can't figure out how to put one on our nation's highways?

    July 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Don

      well said...

      July 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Luca

      Well given that the rover travels at 2 inches/second (0.1 mph) and doesn't have to worry about other traffic, intersections, stop signs, pedestrians etc...

      July 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • CoastalMaineBird

      They can do it; but at a cost of $800M for a pair of them, the market outlook is dismal.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jason

      Actually your pointing the finger in the wrong direction. You can blame that on the oil execs.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  34. JonnyHookah

    Such lame photos and so very few! Every photo NASA takes should be available for the public to examine. Afterall, it is our tax money that pays for it all!!!

    July 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • thermion7

      the photos are available on nasa's website... and are available to use, free of copyright restrictions. NASA and the federal govt. view this data to be truly public domain

      July 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • thermion7

      all opportunity raw image data is here:
      http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html

      July 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Cybe dazed

      Really? There is a link in the article to the picture and NASA makes available all of the pics of all of their work on their web site. Look before you leap next time.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • octal

      For more images, search the NASA and JPL web sites. For example:
      "Raw Images For Spirit and Opportunity"
      http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/

      July 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  35. Pete

    If you zoom in 1000% you can see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Ticotin's eyes popping out of their heads at the bottom of the dune on the left.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Yossarian

      Quaid was too slow. The reactor never started up. :(

      July 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • Sentor

        America's Army was not so bad of a game, it served its puprsoe as a recruiting tool for the DoD. I wonder what indeed the goal of this game is, NASA is rapidly becoming irrelevant as its budget is hacked and missions get scrubbed, so why bother? No possible buzz this game could generate will get the profligate masses interested in manned colonization and exploration again.The only folks interested would seem to be science nerds. Speaking of nerds, Larry Niven had an idea about training anyone interested with video games, for unmanned lunar rover operation

        July 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  36. JoJo

    These "photos" are a hoax like globabl warming. You can see golden arches in the distance. (Unless the Martians are investing in McDonalds?)

    July 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Jason

      Man, even the spammers are getting lazy.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  37. Jt_flyer

    If you like this wait until august 6 2012. NASA has something very special planned for us.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • ferisbueller

      oh oh...tell us, please do tell!!!!! I can't wait that long!!!!!!

      July 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Jt_flyer

        A rover, thr size of an SUV, will be lowered to the surface of mars by a rocket powered platform.

        July 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • JoJo not so secret

      I believe this is the Aug 6th news he was referring to::: ""Curiosity Rover on Track for Early August Landing""

      July 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • thermion7

      if it can survive a very complex landing sequence!

      July 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Thezel

      yeah, the SS Sandusky is going to land on Uranus

      July 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  38. peick

    I think the rover is actually in Arizona, because that's exactly how it looks outside.

    July 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • jkflipflop

      Oh, I think it's a little farther away than Arizona.

      July 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • SonyAUX

      Where are all the clouds? That place doesnt look good- even if we built a colony on mars I still wouldnt go!

      July 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jason

      I think your brain is on Venus cause your logic is fried.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  39. Kitty Kat Meow

    Here's a cool link that lets you listen to David Bowie while looking at the pics!! Enjoy!
    http://929dave.radio.com/2012/07/09/has-david-bowies-question-been-answered/

    July 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  40. I'm The Best!

    Great article and awesome picture. Keep up with the updates!
    I think you have an extra 0 in Greeley's death date though

    July 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Steve

      Maybe not – he might be virtual on Mars & that's just an 'estimate' of when he'll 'shut down', lol What a WASTE of Money when it could be used for some good on this God Forsaken Planet!!!

      July 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • Adam

        The things NASA learns by doing stuff like this directly benefits humanity here. NASA gets a higher return on investment than any other governmental agency. Estimates range from 1:25 to 1:40. No one else can top that return. NASA needed smaller and lighter electronics. This lead to the miniaturization of cell phones and computers. NASA needed better and faster pumps for rocket engines, that gave us better pumps on fire trucks. Coming up with better ways to grow crops, safer materials for cars, better air traffic control, materials for building homes, water purification for 3rd world countries, etc, etc. The list goes on and on seemingly forever. NASA, in exploring the universe and learning about our history and origins makes our today and future better. End of discussion.

        July 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • Observer

        I always love how people so readily attack NASA and the money spent on it when it's entire budget represents less than .5% of the current Federal budget and the entire NASA budget is the equivalent of 3-4 B-2 bombers. It would be nice to see this country lead the world in something other than military expenditures.

        July 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
      • E.King

        You are mistaken if you think "your" taxpayer dollars are burnt up in the rocket exhaust. That money goes to U.S. working people that are making a contribution to the U.S and to mankind's knowledge. The money stays here in the pockets of people that worked for it. Of course, you don't get a free handout that you apparently "expect" because you "deserve it" since you just take up room and contribute nothing.

        July 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
      • Les

        Besides what Adam mentioned there are other NASA program contributions to consider. Advanced ball bearings, Teflon, metal alloys, ceramics, food packaging and preservation, solar technology, circuit miniaturization, lens technology, medical technology, wireless communication and computer technologies round out the list of contributions to modern civilization made by the space program. Anyone who thinks the space program is a waste must be truly living in in a fantasy.

        July 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
      • Your dog...

        You Capitalize A Lot, Don't You?

        July 10, 2012 at 4:59 am |

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