Sad news today from NASA: Spirit, the Mars rover, is perfectly functional and waiting for instructions that it'll never receive on a sunny hillside on the red planet. It's being left to die due to budget cuts. UPDATE: Looks like NASA has changed their mind. Physorg reports that "it has rescinded a letter that recommended budget cuts in the Mars Rover program to cover the cost of a next-generation rover on the Red Planet." Yee haw!
Yes, due to a budget cut of US$4 million, only one of the Mars rovers will survive, and that one is Opportunity. Spirit, which has been chugging along handily for four years on Mars, will just be left where it is despite being fully able to continue doing research.
And while yes, there are plenty of important things that we should be doing with our tax dollars, we're spending well over that US$4 million that NASA needed every day on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so its sad to see such a promising robot with so much potential left to rot. RIP, Spirit. [Physorg via io9]