RIP Opportunity: Internet Mourns NASA Mars Rover Farewell
“My battery is low and it is getting dark.”
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
Fine, we’re not supposed to project human qualities onto a non-sentient being, but how do those last words not jerk some tears? Are you dead inside?
For 15 years, NASA’s rover Opportunity has well, roved on Mars, dutifully sending back data about the red planet. Apparently surpassing any other rover before. It also set a new record a couple years back for the longest off-world drive thus far at 45.16 km.
Operating on solar panels and battery, Opportunity was expected to last 90 days, but survived over 60 times longer. And every year, it would sing itself happy birthday.
Sadly, due to what NASA believes was a planet-wide dust storm, the little Martian rover was unable to recharge. It’s final message? “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”
Who’s crying? You’re crying.
It has since been clarified that the sentence is a “poetic translation” of Opportunity’s closing transmissions by reporter Jacob Margolis, and not the literal version. “While not as catchy as seven words on a T-shirt, Oppy’s final message back to headquarters is still impressive,” Margolis wrote in LAist.
Like proper closure, Opportunity’s end incidentally mirrors the beginning of its expedition back in 2004. After a six month journey from Earth, Opportunity miraculously made it through a giant dust storm that covered a quarter of Mars. The precision of its landing so impressive one mission scientist deemed it “a 300 million mile interplanetary hole in one.”
Here’s to Opportunity.
From: Esquire SG