Reaching out to the rocks…

If robots can feel insecure, or jealous, or frustrated, then I’m pretty sure Opportunity must be feeling all those things right now. Insecure, because after nine years on Mars, at a time when NASA’s budget is tight, and always in danger of being squeezed tighter, there must be uneducated, ignorant, science-hating politicians staring at her and thinking “Do we really need TWO rovers on Mars? Isn’t that sexy nuclear powered one enough?”; jealous, because the media – and to a degree NASA itself – has turned away from Opportunity, abandoning her to her quiet but incredible work on the edge of Endeavour Crater, to drool and fawn over the work being done by Curiosity instead; and frustrated because she has done so much, achieved so much, made so many incredible discoveries already, that she must look west at the end of each sol and, as the last weak rays of the pale Sun slide from her face, ask herself “What more do I have to DO to get them to give me back some respect?!!”

Yes, nine years after landing on Mars, Opportunity is STILL “doing a science” every day. Standing wearily but proudly on the eastern flank of Cape York, on the crumbling edge of mighty Endeavour Crater, Opportunity is sending back new images and new data every day. True, she has no scoop to scrape spoonfuls of soil off the martian surface, no laboratory to drop them into, no sieve to sort them into different sized grains and particles. But she has a heart as big as a whale’s, and was exploring Mars when Curiosity was just a stack of parts and a fancy wire diagram in a NASA computer. She deserves a lot more respect and media attention – a LOT more – than she is getting. And NASA needs to start paying her some more respect too.

Here’s what she’s seeing at the moment…

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2 Responses to Reaching out to the rocks…

  1. Birgit says:

    Yes, Stu, that`s right, our little ,unhappy darling Oppy…snief.

  2. Daniel says:

    i read all thinks about oppy :)

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