Mars Rover Opportunity has died. After eight months of trying, as of yesterday, February 13, 2019, NASA is no longer going to try to contact the little rover. They are calling her mission complete.

For many of us, myself included, the end of Opportunity is a sad day. It is not just a machine that has stopped working. It is the death of a little rover who did so much. Mars has been the planet of our science fiction stories, comic books and movies.  Oppy and the other rovers let us see that planet as it truly is. Oppy showed us a Mars’ sunset, what the solar eclipse looked like from Mars; Mars’ rocks and dust storms. Her own tread marks in the sand.

I felt the same sadness when Opportunity’s sister rover, Spirit died. Her wheel stuck and with no way to maneuver herself to the North Ridge for sunlight, Spirit’s solar cells could no longer access the sunlight needed to power her battery and she ceased to function.

I sat watching the live feed from NASA as Cassini’s final moments happened. The Saturn probe plummeting towards Saturn, while trying to keep its antennas pointed towards Earth.

I was and am saddened by the loss of all three. I dread to think about the end of Hubble’s function. The images of space the telescope has sent back to Earth have been nothing short of spectacular and breathtaking.

I know many people don’t understand my sadness at the little rover’s passing, and that’s fine with me. To me they were more than an engineered collection of wires, computer chips and motherboards. They were a window to space; a way to see the cosmos and the endless wonder of the universe.  A place I long to see myself.

I thank Cassini, Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and wish Curiosity safe travels as he makes his way across Mars.

Goodbye, Opportunity. Your ninety day mission turned into fifteen years of discovery and fascination.