Mars Rover reaches end of existence

The Mars Rover, Opportunity, after 15 years of serving the purpose of exploring the red planet in place of a human counterpart has finally reached the end of its journey this past month on Feb. 13. 

NASA had lost contact with with the rover, also known as “Oppy,” back in June of 2018 when a global dust storm overtook Mars and it fell silent. Despite this, Oppy began to send updates to the NASA station in charge of overlooking the rover. One of these messages just happened to be its last: “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” The last, lonely words of this beloved rover took the Internet by storm sparking feelings of sadness and loss in many across the country.

“Oppy was a wonderful advancement in the world of scientific study. He was an amazing teacher that helped the world learn more of what it was like on Mars,” junior Karmen Hitchcock said regarding Opportunity’s passing. “Oppy achieved what was seemingly impossible for humans and helped us discover more about the red planet. Oppy gave us hope through exploration and provided information for future generations. He will be greatly missed.”

With such strong feelings toward the death of a robot, it lets many marvel at what humans can grow attached to, living or not. Oppy’s death is proof of this fact. As news spreads, many more have joined in the grieving of the courageous rover that braved the red planet for the sake of human intelligence. 

“He lived a good life, but it was time for him to go. We learned so much because of him,” sophomore Josie Klemke said. 

Being on Mars for over 15 years, the mission beginning early in 2004, Opportunity was able to bring back loads of information for NASA to use in their continued search of the planet. This rover was able to study rocks on the rims of four different craters without incident, though the dust storm of the summer of 2018 took its toll on Oppy, who was originally only supposed to be on the red planet for 90 days. 

Opportunity was able to survive on Mars for over 15 years, succeeding its originally planned 90 days. Perhaps what has drawn humans to have feelings for this robot was in part NASA’s fault. The way NASA had presented the rover in the first place was in much the same way one would treat and introduce a dog. It is this fact that brought many to believe that the rover was about the same size of a dog only to be surprised when in reality it showed to be a great deal larger than anyone had imagined it. Oppy turned to be much bigger than a human, let alone a dog. Though this fact did not stop people from getting attached to Oppy. 

NASA also led the public to humanize the rover, sharing the yearly birthday of Oppy by having him “sing” “Happy Birthday” to himself every year. Such a human-like thing to do, many couldn’t help but feel sympathy and perhaps a bit of love for Opportunity as he sat up there alone on the red planet. 

In news of Oppy’s death, many have regrets have resulted in creating art forms of his last words. Many others have let out their grief for the lost robot through way of memes, often referencing to the abrupt way NASA had presented the Internet with Oppy’s last words. 

People have expressed their wishes to bring Opportunity back to earth for a proper burial or perhaps to ease their loss for bringing the rover back home once more. 

While Opportunity’s death has brought feelings of loss and sadness to many, no one will ever forget the wonderful deeds this rover has done for humanity as well as science, defying the odds and bringing one more step in depth knowledge of the mysterious red planet.

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