“Waking Opportunity”

Sorry, still no word from Opportunity.

It’s been over two months now since she fell silent, the precious Sun stolen from her sky by a planet-shrouding dust storm. Every day the Mars Exploration Rover team cups a hand to their electronic ear and listens to the sky, hoping to hear signs of Opportunity waking, yawning and stretching but every day they are disappointed. But they try again the next day, and the next, and the one after that.

When might they hear something? Perhaps today! Maybe they heard something a few hours ago and gave yet to announce it to the world! Or maybe they’ll hear something tomorrow… or the day after… or next week… or next month…

Perhaps they’ll never hear anything from her again. Perhaps the time is near when we have to, reluctantly, and with great sadness, let her go.

But somehow I don’t think so. I believe Opportunity still has work to do, still has discoveries to make, still has more history to write. So every day I’ll look towards the sky and let her know I’m thinking of her, and wish her amazing team well too.

For now, here’s a new astropoem I’ve written about Opportunity and her current situation:



Maybe, if we all look to the sky
On the next cold, clear night,
Seek out Mars shining there like
A red hot coal and wish really hard
Opportunity will wake.

Children do it all the time
And it seems to work for them.
On Christmas Eve they lie in bed,
Eyes squeezed tight, fighting off sleep,
Hoping to hear the stairs creaking
As Santa creeps down to leave
Gifts beneath their tree – and next morning
There they are.
When a tooth falls out they hide the white nugget
Beneath their pillow, wishing and hoping
For a calcium-deficient fairy to swap it
For a coin – and one magically appears.
Why can’t it work for us?

For two long months now we’ve waited
For her to phone home, checking our laptops
And phones to see if someone at JPL
Has Tweeted “She’s alive!”
But all we hear is silence.
Although her dust-curdled sky
Is clearing now, the softly-falling fines
Leaving Endeavour looking even rustier than before
Our brave girls sleeps on, deep in
A power saving mode computer coma,
Unaware of the sols passing,
Every marmalade-hued sunrise and sunset
Going unseen.

So maybe, if we all look to the sky
On the next cold, clear night,
Seek out Mars, and wish really hard
She’ll hear us, open up her gritty eyes
And with a yawn come back to life.

Let’s try.

© Stuart Atkinson 2018

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1 Response to “Waking Opportunity”

  1. requalls2015 says:

    Let’s hang in there. I feel Oppy will out live Curiosity. Great post!

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