After almost 15 years NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity, or more affectionately called Oppy, has ended its mission.
In June 2018 a dust storm on Mars blanketed the rover and NASA lost contact with Oppy. After over a thousand attempts and with the Martian winter approaching, NASA has made its final attempt to locate and revive Oppy. The final wake-up song NASA sent knew it was going to be its last and they chose Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
I was about 7-years-old when Opportunity landed on the red planet for its mission, so naturally I felt a little sad when I heard about the news. It was not until this tweet that absolutely broke my heart… *cue the waterworks*
I was not alone in my sadness. Many people on Twitter were also wallowing in their sorrow addressing Oppy’s last words. There was even trending hashtags like #Opportunity, #ThankYouOppy, #RIPOppy and much more. It was nice to see a consensus from the community of Twitter paying tribute to Oppy.
Who knew a little robot could create such a ripple effect and tug on people’s heart strings as much as it did. I feel like I have always had an emotional response with the different rovers of Mars, like when I found out that NASA engineers programmed the Curiosity rover to sing itself happy birthday every year…C’mon NASA you’re tugging my emotions.
The technology of Opportunity and the other rovers allow humans on Earth to get a deeper glimpse into our galaxy and it is fascinating that we have the ability to do so!
Oppy allowed for a perspective unlike anything before. Originally Opportunity was suppose to go on a 90 day mission, but Oppy lasted 15 years and traveled over 28 miles collecting data.
NASA has big things on the horizon in relation to Mars. The Mars 2020 mission will consist of sending another rover to Mars. This rover can drill into the planet and collect samples and as stated on NASA’s page, “the mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.”
Perhaps Opportunity’s greatest achievement was the lessons learned for future generations of science, so thank you Oppy.