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Mars rovers are playful as well as smart

March 28, 2004

The current Martian explorers, the Opportunity and Spirit rovers, may be robotic, but they've inspired a certain cult of personality stemming from the reports "they've" been posting on livejournal.com, the popular diary site, giving the science a human spin.

A sampling, from Opportunity (www.livejournal.com/users/opportunitygrrl/):

Friday, Feb. 6, 2004, 8:23 a.m.:

I got to drive today! It's so cool! I didn't think I'd ever be allowed to go out on my own. NASA is so protective sometimes; it's like they wanted to keep me swaddled in air bags forever. But anyways, I keep finding these round pebbly things. They get stuck in my treads. Do you think they'll leave a mark?

Current Mood: chipper

Sunday, Feb. 15, 2004, 10:09 a.m.:

NASA told me to use the microscopic imager on the end of my arm and I just said no. I'm not their puppet, you know. I am semiautonomous up here. It was just like totally unacceptable for me to carry out that command, you know? In the end they saw my point of view, but then they GROUNDED me!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004, 2:09 p.m.:

Some of those rocks I found actually developed in a shallow salty sea.... I'm actually driving over what used to be a beach!

Current Mood: accomplished

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