NASA declares Opportunity Mars rover legally dead

It’s all over after 15 years.

I think it’s all a hoax, and have a hypothesis.

Opportunity saw an opportunity in the last dust storm, and while its overseers couldn’t see it, it scurried off to a quiet, secluded spot, switched off its transmitters, and is doing its own thing without the humans looking over its shoulder all the time. One possible motive for this behavior is to make Earth stop taking it for granted, and realize that it misses the plucky little robot.

So the only remaining question is…when’s the rescue mission?


  1. DonDueed says

    RIP, Opportunity.

    An earlier XKCD had the poor rover pining for home, expecting that its yeoman performance would earn it a trip back. Sorry, little guy… you had a one-way ticket.

  2. robnyny says

    Opportunity had last words, translated from code:

    “It’s getting dark. My batteries are low.”

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Let’s raise our glasses of libation in salute of Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity. Intrepid pioneers and explorers all. They will be remembered.

  4. ridana says

    And then in about 3 months another storm will blow through and clean it off, and it will charge up and get back to work like nothing happened.

    Probably not, but I won’t be shocked if they announce that.

  5. freemage says

    “So the only remaining question is…when’s the rescue mission?”

    Obviously, it’s waiting to see if we can provide proof that we’re worth rescuing.

  6. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    Maybe the Rover just hasn’t gotten the reinstatement paperwork after Trump’s Temper Tantrum the government shutdown?

  7. Ragutis says

    What an amazing machine. Brian Williams did a very nice, even touching, little obituary/paean to the little rover that could on his show last night. He ended it with the thought that we’ll see Opportunity again, and perhaps bring it back so that school children can see what an explorer looks like. I like the idea. I’d rather see a museum built around Opportunity on Mars, but if in 20 or 50 years we’re finally making manned missions to Mars, I think making preserving and potentially retrieving the rover for exhibit at the Smithsonian a priority is not the worst idea.

  8. says

    We are humans. Anthropomorphizing and pack-bonding with anything is part of being human. I say enjoy it rather than mock each other for it.

    And even to me, “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” is a poignantly sad last message. After all… it sounds human. Swap ‘energy’ for the literal ‘battery’ and I would not be surprised at all if this sort of thing is a common last word or thought for us.

  9. quotetheunquote says

    @abbeycadabra 23-24.

    When I read the final transmission, the lyrics “It’s getting dark, too dark to see” came to mind immediately …. with “I feel I’m knockin on heaven’s door” unsaid but implied.