Tim Cavanaugh wrote an editorial on JPL and Charles Elachi before the Phoenix landing.
But for at least the last decade, the glamour of space travel has increasingly been shaped by machine-driven research -- the heart-stopping photos of star formation from space-based telescopes, the stunning close-ups of Saturn's rings and the surface of Titan from the Cassini-Huygens probe and the weird anthropomorphizing of the cute little rovers.
Cute little rovers? Those are workhorse mobile field geologists!
He quotes Dr. Elachi as saying we have 19 spacecraft operating in space right now. I hadn't realized we had so many! Go us...