Hard-Working Mars Rovers: On the Scent Of Science:
“So we will have time to carefully examine this new site the way you would if you stumbled upon it in the field here on Earth,” Crumpler said. “In fact, it is just this sort of low, small outcrop with visible evidence of tilting that one usually gets excited about -- and learns a lot about the geology from – right here on Earth. This is real field geology on another planet.”
Thanks to the work of Spirit and Opportunity, there’s an important take home message – this time for those blueprinting future expeditions of humans to the red planet.
“There’s a clear message,” Arvidson said. “What we’re doing is reconnaissance…understanding the geological evolution and the role of water…helping to hone in on the sites where you want to do detailed work,” he said.
“It’s another new mission,” said Ray Arvidson, Chair of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and the deputy principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers.
At some point in the future, there will be humans on the surface of Mars, Arvidson said.
What’s apparent to Arvidson is that the optimal way to do exploration is with humans and robots acting together. “You can have a dozen of these rovers moving off in various directions. Astronauts can be directing the robots, with humans then field-checking key areas. I look at it as an integrated system,” he concluded.