Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Opportunity

Our lovely new boy Zachary's full name is Zachary William Canaveral Gresham Moore.

People have asked why we called him Canaveral.  Well, he was due on 21st July, when space shuttle Atlantis touched-down after its last mission.  MLYW and I are huge fans of space flight, exploration and astronomy.  Watching a space shuttle launch was an ambition for both of us.  One which will now never happen, and we wanted to mark the event in our own quirky (and possibly slightly mad) way.

I've also just been reading about the Mars Rover, Opportunity (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_rover) which is still exploring the surface of Mars.  It originally landed there in Jan 2004 on a mission that was due to last 92 days.  2,682 days later, it's still functioning.

Five days after Zachary was born, Opportunity arrived at Endeavour Crater.  At 14 miles across, it's the largest crater yet to be visited by the rover and it arrived after a 3 year drive from its previous destination (Victoria Crater).

It amazes me that this little robot, designed and built 9 years ago, which was meant to cover a distance of around 600 metres, is continuing to do groundbreaking scientific work after more than 20 miles of dusty, stormy trekking on an alien planet.

When I think of its lonely 3 year journey, I feel proud of mankind's achievments and it gives me hope that we can all do something positive in the future.

The Mars Exploration Rovers launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.