30 November 2007:
Stone Aerospace would like to clarify a comment made in the article that could be misleading. There is a quote to the effect that DEPTHXwas "two orders of magnitude more advanced than Spirit or Opportunity". While we appreciate the comment, in fact, the comment should not be applied to DEPTHX, but to future vehicle systems that will fly to Europa in search of extra-terrestrial life. We do not pretend nor desire to scoff the JPL and Cornell team that pulled off that spectacular feat.
What the actual quote said, or should have said if I was not explicit at the time, was that the descendent of DEPTHX that actually flies to Europa would have to be two orders of magnitude more advanced. We are not even close to that with DEPTHX—we’ve taken some very important steps in that direction and in terms of behavioral adaptive mission execution and real-time map building and utilization we are significantly ahead of what is being done on Mars right now. More likely, however, is that the Europa astrobiology mission itself would be two orders of magnitude more complex—first beginning with the melt probe delivery system to get through the ice and then followed by the deployment of the uber-smart AUV 3rd stage of the lander. Those last two stages are complications that take us to new levels beyond anything we’ve done before as a species.