Planetary Resources’ Team Reflects on Opportunity’s 10 Years on Mars
“Ten years ago, an epic event shaped many of us here at Planetary Resources: humans landed a rover on Mars, and we helped put it there.
How Do You Land On Mars? [NASA JPL Animation]
Opportunity greeted the Martian surface on January 25, 2004. Just three weeks prior, its counterpart Spirit also met the Red Planet and began its exploration. During the rover’s 120 million mile journey to Mars, the crew who designed, built and launched Opportunity had ample time to let their imagination run about the day it would reach its destination.
Opportunity pre-launch in April 2003 (NASA)
Myself, and Planetary Resources’ team members Chris Voorhees and Peter Illsley, were there. We played various roles in the development of the 400lbs. rover and were in Mission Control during the “6 minutes of terror” landing sequence, each one of us waiting for the rover to activate so that we could stop holding our breath.
The Challenge Of Getting To Mars [von Kármán Lecture Series, Duration 1:20:21]
Since that electrifying landing, Opportunity has journeyed hundreds of kilometers, conducted numerous experiments, and outlasted even the most optimistic estimates of its lifespan (originally 90 sols).
The National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall recently opened a 10 year MER anniversary exhibit, and included in the display is the rover wheel, designed by PRI VP of Spacecraft Development, Chris Voorhees, and the Rover Electronics Module, designed by Peter Illsley, our Principal Mechanical and Thermal Engineer.
Opportunity still is an inspiration and continues to allow scientists, engineers and dreamers to imagine and experience Mars. We’re looking forward to doing the same here at Planetary Resources with our Arkyd Series of Spacecraft which will venture into deep space to prospect and mine asteroids with the goal of bringing the natural resources of space within humanity’s economic sphere of influence.
Jason Silva explains the importance of Planetary Resources and the ARKYD-100 spacecraft for the 2013 Kickstarter campaign
Check out this video (above, main) to hear first-hand stories from me and other team members who each played a part in Opportunity’s story, and who now lead us here at Planetary Resources.”
Chris Lewicki, Chief Asteroid Miner | Planetary Resources
During the Starship Century symposium coordinated by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Chris Lewicki gave a 40-minute presentation aptly titled, “The Coming Interplanetary Economy”