February 15, 2019, Winter Sputters On, Tears For Opportunity


It is certainly too early to count winter out. Some rain and snow may be moving in late this afternoon/evening – nothing big. We might even see some sunshine on Saturday.


Paul Gustave Fischer
“An evening at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen” (1887-88).


The end of “Opportunity” rover.

I have seen an outpouring of emotion over the end of the mission for the little rover “Opportunity” on Mars. I understand. It is easy to get sentimental and maybe a catch in the throat when we think of it “dying” in the cold – abandoned by its makers.

Many were there from the beginning. Some of us stayed up late (early) when the first signals confirmed a landing and pictures started rolling in. We cheered right along with the people at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and hugged our loved ones. We have memories and an emotional attachment that can be confounding. Did we ever get the “feels” over other lost tools?

“Opportunity,” however, is not a socket wrench or a vacuum cleaner.

A JPL guy was asked if there had been any discussions about bringing the rover back to Earth to be displayed in some future Mars museum. The answer (to paraphrase) – “If I am going to spend millions of dollars and maybe risk lives to return hundreds of pounds of material from Mars it is NOT going to be something that I know exactly what it is made of!”

The folks at JPL had another way of helping us deal with the loss of a machine that carried our hopes and dreams. They reminded us that “Oppy” was made for Mars and Mars is her home.

“It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion 
will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”

Robert A. Heinlein

Thought of the day provided by Thomas Brown – Madwillow Creekhouse.