The Opportunity rover’s final message from Mars was “My battery is low and it is getting dark.”

@InvaderXan I'm not crying. Not crying. know... 😭😭😭

@InvaderXan So ... when it's ... not reachable anymore ... will that be a ... "missed opportunity"?

It’s already a missed Opportunity 😭😭 and we’ve already lost our Spirit!

When we get there, we should build a monument to it! Intended to last 90 days and lasted for 5475! Opportunity was amazing!

@InvaderXan and if it weren't for the solar panels getting covered it'd have lasted even longer o_o

Wonder what it'd take to send a maintenance unit to provide basic cleaning services to other bots.

Main issue would be getting to them - flying isn't an easy option either with the Mars atmosphere being thinner than Earth's.

Its an interesting idea. I wonder how long it can go without power and still be revived by sunlight...

@InvaderXan @polychrome I don't know for Opportunity specifically but it depends on if they built in a mechanism to cold boot the rover. I can ask about it after breakfast if you're curious!

@InspectorCaracal @InvaderXan I think I've read about it not being able to recover, either due to not having the capacity to cold boot (doubtful) or a malfunction (more likely) but I'd be happy to hear more about this, sure :o

@polychrome @InspectorCaracal
I'd be interested too. I don't know so much about the technical/engineering side of these things.

@polychrome @InvaderXan So it sounds like it doesn't actually have an on/off state so if it gets power again at all, if the electronics are still intact, it could be rebooted by a ping from Earth - which they've been trying.

If the problem is that the solar panels weren't blown clean enough again for it to have enough power, then the primary problem for eventual restarting is the rover won't be able to stay warm enough over the winter to avoid the electronics being destroyed.

@polychrome @InvaderXan The solar panels being covered by dust and shutting off the rover happened earlier on in the dust season but the post-storm winds cleaned the panels off enough that it could restart. This time, the panels weren't very well positioned to be hit by sunlight when the storm hit, so it's possible the panels were cleaned off a little but not enough to get sufficient power to run.

@InspectorCaracal @polychrome
Hmmm... So if it has no means of getting power, then it's probably dead. That's a pity. Though I guess it was inevitable, for a solar powered robot on a planet with frequent planet-wide dust storms, that this would be its biggest danger.

@InvaderXan @polychrome If it's just the panels being covered, it could hypothetically have the dust blown off again later, but it seems unlikely.

There's apparently some concern that it won't restart because it already got too cold overnight.

How likely is it that its solar panels can recharge the battery over time? I can't help but think about what future life, mankind or otherwise, will do when they find this rover. Humans will recognize it as a part of space history, but what would other life see it as?

The trouble is that Martian dust is as fine as wheat flour, and it blows like snow drifts. A stationary object on Mars could end up buried by a huge sand dune.

As for non-humans finding it, it’s cameras and instruments are likely self explanatory. It’s an observer. Though for what purpose, it may be harder to say.

@InvaderXan that's even more depressing :[ So it's possible this thing's already covered and won't be found for years...

Very possible, seeing as it was lost in a global dust storm which lasted for weeks. Martian dust storms are a regular occurrence too, every few years. We know its location, but it may become difficult to find purely by chance.

@InvaderXan wow, nice toot. May I ask you the source of the pic, as well as the message, plz?

You've waken up the inner child that wanted to be an astronaut

Both are being shared around all of science Twitter right now.

Image source is... literally the Opportunity rover? The credit line (for this and similar) is NASA JPL/Caltech, and all NASA space images are public domain by policy.

Here’s a thread from a science journalist with more info:

@InvaderXan I´m at work and I can hardly hold my tears.

Who knows what our grandchildren will see.

What a time to be alive!

The best thing is that there will always be more to see. The more we walk towards the horizon, the more it recedes from us.

I had trouble recounting this to my wife without choking up damn you.


recharging my batteries in remembrance :battery_charging:

see u... space robot

@InvaderXan this is like the third time I’ve cried over some kind of rover/probe/space thing’re not alone

We need to go there and rescue the little fella! 😤

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