That is a hard one. Voyager 1 is a classic of course, then there is LRO orbiting the moon giving us the best view of our natural satellite than ever before. Hmm, will have to narrow it down between the rovers though and I'm gonna have to go with Opportunity. Which has been operating almost a decade now on solar power, and yet is still on roving.
I'm split between Dawn and New Horizons (both heading someplace new), but a friend of mine worked on the Pluto Kuiper Express mission concept that was the predecessor to New Horizons, so the tie goes to the hyperbolic trajectory!
It's a damn piece of art and it's still up there reflecting lasers!
Damn it, I was going to say the Lunakhod.
If you ever make it to Kansas, they have one at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.
I can't believe nobody's mentioned this one yet...
My favorite probe in the solar system is the one circling Uranus.
Does that ever get old?
This map is really similar to the one I have in Kerbal Space Program. Some places are just easier to get to than others.
Nope. It was, and always will be, a dorky bathtub on wheels. (And WHAT is up with those wheels anyway)?
if we could just rederect all or perhaps even half the funds that go to wars and shit into space exploration we could do miracles.
that picture is totally misleading by design... i was all: 'holey shit, they have discovered THREE new solar systems?!! and there ALL right next to us!!!'
back to normal life, but with slightly more disappointment. Thanks Boing Boing, Thoing boing.
As the question is asked, I have to vote for the soft-landing Mars probes, simply because the level of Rube Goldbergian engineering is so delightful and -- clearly -- executed amazingly well.
My favorite mission.... that's harder. I watched Mercury flow into Gemini and then into Apollo... and watched that drive an entire generation to greater awareness of and interest in science and engineering and related fields. We desperately need to set ourselves a challenge of that sort again.
The next Man on the Moon is going to be Chinese.
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