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All Stations: Command Terminated, Apparatus To Remain In Place

A moment of your time please, for reflection on the achievements of Opportunity, who was meant to operate on the surface of Mars for 90 sols and instead continued for fifteen years, until the announcement today. With batteries well past the point of being able to sustain system requirements, and no response to communications for an extended period of time, NASA called it today. The mission is done.

Some day, humans will expand our permanent presence to the Moon and Mars; when that happens, I hope that significant bits of history like Spirit and Opportunity and the Apollo landing sites are not turned into equivalent of national parks, their artifacts removed to some museum or other. I hope they build domes over them but leave out the atmosphere, keeping them inviolate and preserved as they are forever¹. Put a half-meter diameter hemisphere of plexi over the entire rambling 45km you traveled, let us get close but never obscure a single tread-mark.

It’s cold where you are, and dark, and very far from where you were born. You showed us every meter in stunning detail and we thank you.

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¹ Or at least until the Sun swells in its death throes in a few billion years, obliterating these rocks where we spawned.

Here I must differ with you. If we ever get to Mars I would hope that they would install new batteries, blow the dust off of the solar panels, grease up the wheels and bring him back to life. Revive him, and send him on his merry way. Let him live again!

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