NASA has confirmed that its dauntless robot hero stopped bleeping, choked to death on some desolate, dust-blown plateau 30 million miles from home, its optical apertures turned one more time to the hazy blue blot in the starry sky, leaking coolant, as its antenna array transmitted its goodbye into the black, infinite expanse of the universe.
“Happy Valentine’s Da-”
I mean, I think that’s how it happened. I dunno. Probably? Maybe.
Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004, its original mission expected to conclude in about three months. But Opportunity kept going. And going. And going. For almost 15 years, audaciously traversing a distance of 28 miles. Which, okay, isn’t impressive by human standards, but it’s the most accomplished by an extra-planetary robot, and besides – how many Martian miles have you clocked on your Fitbit? Exactly. Shut up.
The agency has apparently been attempting to re-establish contact with Opportunity since a storm interrupted communications in June 2018. On Tuesday night, according to CNET, NASA sent its last rescue commands with a recording of Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You to Mars via the Deep Space Network. But there was no answer.