The long, long life of Opportunity

July 3, 2013

Here’s what we’re reading/watching today:

The Mars rover, named Opportunity, is shown in this artist conception released by NASA. (AP Photo/NASA/HO)
The Mars rover, named Opportunity, is shown in this artist conception released by NASA. (AP Photo/NASA/HO)

1) Opportunity wasn’t supposed to live this long — the Mars rover that is. A mission that was supposed to last for only 3 months — with little chance of the rover landing successfully at all — will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on July 7.

The hardy rover has not only defied expectations in terms of its longevity, it has set an off-world driven-mileage record for the U.S. space program. The record was set May15 with Opportunity’s odometer reading 22.22 miles. That beats out the Apollo 17 lunar rover, which was driven 22.21 miles. Opportunity could, if it survives another year, break the all-time extraterrestrial driving record, set by a Soviet robotic vehicle that traveled the moon in 1973.  (Science At NASA)

2) The rap world is getting biblical … literally. Shortly after Kanye West released his latest album, “Yeezus,” Jay-Z is teaming with Samsung to give Galaxy phone users an opportunity to download his album “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Samsung has purchased one million copies of the album to give away to customers. Thanks to a small change in the certification rules by the Recording Industry Association of America, the album could go platinum over the weekend.

3) The Google doodle today is in celebration of what would be Franz Kafka’s 130th birthday. The Post’s Michael Cavna has the rundown on the story behind the doodle.

Meanwhile, over at The Atlantic, Joseph Epstein calls on the world to reconsider the Kafka’s place in the literary world, writing:

“The argument is that he [Kafka] cannot finally be explained, but merely read, appreciated, and reread until his meaning, somehow, washes over you. But what if this meaning seems oddly skewed and in our day even outmoded, in the way great literature never is?”

It’s a long read, but well worth it.

4) As we’re putting this together, there is breaking news coming out of Egypt. Egyptian state media reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is no longer in charge of the country. The Washington Post’s Anup Kaphle is leading a vibrant live blog on the breaking news out of Egypt.

5) And I’ve got to agree with Gizomodo’s Leslie Horn. This may be an ad, but the cute/innovation factor is just too high to ignore:

Also, we’ll be taking a break from the blog on the Fourth. So have a great holiday weekend and we’ll see you Friday!

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Dominic Basulto · July 3, 2013