Well, this is not quite an obituary, but one of the human races best technical achievementsthe Spirit rover on Marsis pretty much stuck for good. Two of its wheels are completely jammed with rocks, sand, or dirt and after months of trying, little Spirit is stuck for good.
Her sister, Opportunity, is still moving about and is in fairly decent working order.
Spirit has been astonishing. She was only supposed to operate for three months, maybe more with a bit of luck. Instead, she stayed operational for six years, and sent back an ungodly amount of data on Mars. Spirit probably is NASAs cheapest mission ever: by staying alive and continuously sending back new and unexpected discoveries, this little robot has easily eliminated the need for about 24 other missions. So take her cost, and multiply it by 23 to see how many millions that robot saved us (about $10 billion).
And she is not dead, just stuck. Her components are pretty sophisticated, and even though she is stuck where she is, she can do a lot more work sitting in place. Already, mission scientists have come up with an innovative experiment she was never designed for…but could readily do…in helping to investigate the composition of the Martian core. And as other experiments are invented for her, new software can be flashed up and over to her and she will be ready to get to work at her new desk job.
The rovers continue to impress.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.