What does this look like to you?
How is it that the two rovers, which cost about $800 million to build, have found nothing of value in 18 months, and whose only media-worth performance has been the creation of this image?
Actually, only one Rover is still functioning. The other one went offline in 2010: a $400 million glitch.
Was this image planned? Is NASA that clever? No one at NASA is saying. Instead, NASA’s site features this deadly dull announcement, along with the photo.
The Mars Exploration Rovers have traversed more than 10 kilometers over the Martian surface, using a combination of vision-enhanced autonomous drives and simple directed moves in which operators tell them where to go and motions are executed without taking pictures. When driving autonomously, MER vehicles use cameras to look ahead and avoid potential problems using Stereo Vision and GESTALT (Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain)
NASA has a team of writers who are paid high wages and pension benefits to write news reports like this one. But at least they ran the photo.
So many people went to see the photo yesterday that the site crashed.
This was the biggest story that NASA has had in several decades. These are our tax dollars at work.
Beneath the photo is the word Enlarge. Hope springs eternal.
The fact that the image faithfully represents NASA’s main approach to the American taxpayer seems appropriate.
It makes you wonder what image, if any, the missing rover has sketched.