Honouring the past…

Every month journalist AJS Rayl writes a major update on the MER mission for The Planetary Society’s blog. It has a deserved reputation as being one of the, if not The, definitive “travelog” accounts of the epic mission, and each month is a one stop guide to the very latest news about Spirit and Oppy. You can find the latest update here:

http://www.planetary.org/news/2011/0430_Mars_Exploration_Rover_Update_Spirit.html

I’m also very, VERY proud to be able to say that AJS Rayl uses some of my images – including some featured here, on “Road To Endeavour” – to illustrate her updates. 🙂

Anyway, this month’s update contains the usual wheelbarrow full of news, views, information and interviews, and two main items caught my attention. I’ll cover the second one in a separate post, to follow this one, but first is the news that the MER team has given names (provisional names; they’re always provisional until officially accepted, but to my knowledge none of the names has been rejected) to the small craters Oppy is currently heading towards (she might even be at them now, after her latest drive, as the pictures haven’t been posted yet). The craters I’ve been referring to as “Double Crater” are actually the two largest craters in a tight quartet of craters. And AJS Rayl’s latest update told us that all these craters have been named after the one man capsules from the Mercury program – a lovely way of honouring past achievements and milestones of the space age, whilst moving forwards into the future, I think.

So, here are the names…

Do those names sound familiar? They should! They’re the names of the manned MERCURY capsules, so – continuing a tradition they began waaay back at the start of the MER mission, when they named hills on Spirit’s horizon after the astronauts killed in the Columbia and Apollo 1 tragedies – the MER team are honouring past achievements and accomplishments of the space age, whilst moving forward into the future.

Just a quick reminder of how tiny the Mercury capsules were…

And here’s Alan Shepherd’s “Freedom 7” capsule on display in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…

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2 Responses to Honouring the past…

  1. Dave R says:

    >They’re the names of the unmanned MERCURY capsules

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