Somebody needs to fly up there and give it a party hat and some cake

The fifth of August is the anniversary of the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars…and it’s programmed to sing a song to itself? That’s just saddest robot ever.

Maybe “One is the Loneliest Number” would have been more appropriate, but NASA probably didn’t want to deal with a robot breaking down in tears every year.


  1. thebookofdave says

    Tomorrow’s anniversary will be a day for more somber reflection. I mean, of course, that I will have traveled 49.82 billion kilometers around our parent star. Also, something about an atomic bomb dropped on a civilian target, and the importance of having second thoughts* about conflict escalation. Happy HPMD in advance!

    *Thanks, Obama!

  2. A. Noyd says

    I wonder if NASA had to pay royalties for the use of Happy Birthday since the copyright was only disputed this year and the rover has been playing it since 2013.

  3. fishy says

    What does it sound like on Mars? I really, really want to know. Please, someone put a microphone on one of these things and record it.
    Also, I’d like to know what it smells like. Apollo astronauts recalled that the lunar dust stuck to their suits smelled like spent gunpowder.

  4. Nemo says

    Don’t feel sad for the robot. It’s in the place where it was designed to be, doing what it was designed to do. And it’s done it for longer than we could’ve reasonably hoped. If it could feel, it would be content and proud, not lonely.

  5. wzrd1 says

    @Nemo, while yes, it was designed to perform and be abandoned for its environment, I’ll give it a peer’s tear.
    For, after its duty was performed, it was nearly abandoned and remains as a curiosity for science only.
    In some very real ways, my wife and I are peers of that rover.
    On my part, I really don’t have a problem with science exploring things when I eventually fail.

    Today, I learned that my 55 year old wife has extremely advanced osteoporosis, which will likely, within five to six sigma, delay STAT surgery on her spinal column, both L5-S1 level *and* her entire cervical spine, which requires immediate surgery.
    I also learned of several vertebral fractures and two new ones.
    Add in a few other fragility issues in her medical condition, yeah, I’m in a bad time place.

    I’ll be honest, I’m uncertain if I’d want to continue without her. She’s limited me, via simple chiding and occasionally, “*, you’re being an asshole, *stop it now*!”.
    There’s an encyclopedia unversia in between.
    Our 34+ years of marriage was spent with her worrying, me chiding her on that. The former is part of one of the more significant problems that her disease causes problems with.
    Previously, I’ve rarely worried, hence, the new experience in learning how to handle worry. Previously, what happens happens, attend a buddy’s funeral.
    It’s now far more immediate, as it’s likely that the damage was caused by Lupus or a cousin.

    So, to be blunt, for the first time in my eventful life, I’m honestly scared shitless.
    I don’t know how to go on without her at home.
    Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be interested in doing so.
    In that latter case, the path is trivial, cease all of my medications, let my hyperthyroid do its thing, my aorta blows out into the abdomen.

    Oh, just for amusement, her liver has cirrhosis, secondary to both acetaminophen and in her pain her pain medications in the past decades and bilary damage, secondary to many, many gallstones.
    Oh, so eagerly that I await her next specialist’s appointment! :(
    OK, about as eagerly as I’d await a terminal cancer diagnosis for myself.
    No, I’d prefer that to the latter.
    Meanwhile, we have a couple conflict, she’d prefer the converse.

    As one who people that meet me daily, face to face and seek both of our “sage advise” that typically works, I’m now in the position of seeking sage advise.
    That said, we’ll keep on slugging our way through.
    But, worrisome, on my “Friday”, one hour, very nearly precisely, my wife e-mailed me to announce, she fell from her chair and was incapable of actually acquiring her feet. As I’m a massive four miles from home, she also chided me to not speed. I arrived home to find her sitting on the ceramic tile floor, incapable of finding her feet. Having experienced such a situation after an injury, I suggested crawling to the chair behind her, to learn, she already tried that.
    On the third attempt to get her on her feet, success was met, with much escorting efforts and balancing efforts, just to let her manage to the toilet to urinate.
    Neither of us anticipated such a mess.
    It’s likely that I blew a disc catching her on her evening, after day surgery to both remove a gallbladder and repair an umbilical hernial, secondary to three decades old C-section scar failure in the abdominal wall, at the umbilicus.

    Hence, intelligent design, my balls. ;/

    So, batshit crazy? Absolutely. Can anyone here say otherwise?
    Oh, wait, I’m asking for advise to point me sanitywise.
    And for the record, I have my very own train wreck medical issues. One of which is an abdominal aortic dilation, considering recent symptoms and a maladjustment of antithyroid medications, very well may fall soon within aortic aneurysm conditions. The symptoms match enlargement and an 18 hour sleep prevented second doses twice. Twice in the week.
    Or even better, for those so well educated in the field, whyinhell am I even managing to be sane enough to send this missive off to those who I respect?

  6. Ross Marks says

    Maybe it would sing “”Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I’m half crazy / all for the love of you…” like Hal did.

  7. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I’m sorry you and your wife are going through all this. You have my sympathy, as there is unfortunately nothing more substantial I can offer.

  8. blf says

    Please, someone put a microphone on one of these things and record it.

    The Planetary Society has been trying to get a microphone on Mars for two decades now. One actually flew on the 1998 Mars Polar Lander. Which crashed.

    The latest news is microphones will fly on the “Mars 2020” mission:

    The Mars 2020 mission has announced that microphones will fly on board their rover, a near-copy of Curiosity but with different instruments. There will be JPL-provided Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) microphones, and there will be a microphone included in the SuperCam science instrument, led by Roger Wiens at Los Alamos National Laboratory in partnership with the French Space Agency, CNES.

    That link also says there was a microphone on the Phoenix lander, but it “was never turned on because of the potential for an electronic problem.”

    However, I seriously doubt there are any speakers or whatever, so you still won’t hear the song as it sounds on Mars…
    (Not would any Martians, which is perhaps a good thing, since if their opinion of the song is the same as mine, terraforming Earth into glowing blob of plasma is the only sensible reaction.)

  9. Larry says

    The Mars Rover Anniversary Playlist

    1) Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’Sullivan
    2) All By Myself by Eric Carmen
    3) Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis
    4) Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison
    5) Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
    6) Its My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To by Lesley Gore
    7) I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry by Hank Williams

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    The fifth of August is the anniversary of the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars…

    But that’s only ~2.5 Martian years, give or take a Timeslip or two…

    (Hang in there, wzrd1!)

  11. colonelzen says

    Definition of pathos. The scientist telling us “this is fun”.

    (Speaking as someone with deep, deep respect for science. The little quaver in her voice was perfect “um, do I know what I’m talking about?” counterpoint).

    — TWZ

  12. says

    “I am lord of all I survey!”

    They should program it to write in the sand:
    “I am Ozymandias, King of Kings, look on
    my works ye mortals and despair! Bwwaaaahaaahaa!!!”

  13. Becca Stareyes says

    Really, shouldn’t Curiosity be singing every Martian year? (On the other hand, why not celebrate birthdays by both calendars if you can.)

    I remember when the MER rovers hit some anniversary (it might have been one Martian year on Mars*), the folks at Cornell Astronomy threw a party and we had cake in honor of the rovers and their scientists and engineers. It didn’t happen every year because… honestly, I don’t think anyone expected Spirit and Opportunity to keep going as long as they did (and Opportunity still does). (Seriously, the engineers kicked ass at this.)

    * I know it was early in my time as a grad student there, which started in fall 2005. So I didn’t know anyone, but, hey, science and free cake.

  14. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Seriously, the engineers kicked ass at this.

    A flattering comment about engineers? You must be new here. ;/

  15. wzrd1 says

    @Beatrice, save if one suddenly became a deity , that’s the best that anyone can do, commiserate.
    So, my heartfelt thanks! For, in the end, well wishes can tide us over until the most recent poop storm subsides in our lives, which can then only be paid forward. :)

    @Azkyroth, regardless, the statement in its content, rings fully true. Serious overengineering done on the rovers, serious, beyond any reasonable or unreasonable expectation success.
    That said, may that device be brought back home some day, to be admired by the populace for its accomplishments, dedication by its entire team and the over engineering engineers. It took the lot of the humans involved in the effort to accomplish the excessive success.
    At times, one forgets the teams and their members.

  16. wzrd1 says

    Totally OT, but for amusement’s sake…
    Well, I just survived the tail end of Sharnado: 33 1/3 (aka Sharknado: The fourth makes me want to die).

    We’ll suffice it to say, while my wife expressed a desire to view the film, I suggested that she do so while I’m at work.
    Honestly, I’d rather masturbate with a pair of cheese grater, than to view a single minute of the cliche abusing film.
    An Iron Man woman, lacking any iron, but lousy with hands and feet of Iron Man further nauseated me.
    Using a baleen whale to eat the final “evil shark” towards the end makes me want to espouse eugenics, where anyone involved in the abomination of the film are culled from humanity’s gene pool, along with all management and board of directors and their families toyed across my mind until I refound my disgust function and removed that from thought processes.
    So, in short, I’d prefer to vomit my food and eat it again from the floor before watching that abomination.
    That, after masturbating with a cheese grater – thrice.
    Abomination is a very gentle term for that film.
    Alas, this failing nation will likely embrace that abomination.

    Leaving me with the notion, abandon observation and return, leaving a plaque, “There is intelligent life on Earth, but I’m leaving tonight”.
    Alas, my GCU won’t come back for a decade or two. ;/

  17. Demeisen says


    Alas, my GCU won’t come back for a decade or two.

    Scheduling’s getting more interesting what with the possibility of ‘President Trump’ and all. Can’t make any guarantees as to timing on that one.

  18. wzrd1 says

    “Scheduling’s getting more interesting what with the possibility of ‘President Trump’ and all. Can’t make any guarantees as to timing on that one.”
    The distinct possibility of a Trump POTUS very may well remove Earth from the control group. ;)
    That said, even with a Trump OTUS condition, even a single GCU would be more than enough to handle that mess and effectively interfere. :)