Most people are familiar with the two Mars rovers that were launched a few years ago: Spirit and Opportunity. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Opportunity rover is still going after all these years. The rovers both landed in 2004, and were expected to last 90 Martian days (24 hours, 39 minutes), and as of 2011, Opportunity is still going.
The people who helped design, test and maintain the robot deserve a ton of credit. It’s the first mission to really explore the surface of Mars, and has explained many things that couldn’t be explained by telescopes or by orbit. I’ve always wanted to see what the surface of Mars looked like, as well as other planets, so I’ve enjoyed seeing the photos that have come back over the years.1
Also, the philosophical/Buddhist side of me thought of something too. Spirit and Opportunity were both launched and landed at the same time on Mars, but due to external conditions had completely different outcomes (Spirit became stuck in soft sand and until couldn’t recover).
All other things being equal, one can still have different experiences in life depending on external conditions. The question is, what kind of conditions are we creating with out thoughts and actions?
Something to think about I guess. :)
1 I’ve enjoyed photos of Titan’s surface even more so. I remember thinking about this mysterious moon as a kid, wondering what was under its thick atmosphere.