On February 13, 2019, Earth said its final farewell to Opportunity. However, this was not when Opportunity said farewell to us. June of 2018 brought Mars an planet-encompassing dust storm. We would never hear from her again.
This struck me harder than I thought possibly. After all, Opportunity is only a Mars Rover. When Opportunity and its sister, Spirit, launched to Mars, I was 6 years old. Spirit landed on my 7th birthday and Opportunity followed a few weeks later. After 15 years have passed, I am now 22.
I keep asking myself why a little rover on a different planet would have such a profound effect on myself. At first, I thought it was because of the name. We have just lost… Opportunity. I don’t think anyone likes the feeling of lost opportunities. In a way, I feel that Earth has. What information could Opportunity send us What would happen to this little rover lost on the big red planet? There is no chance of Curiosity being able to save Opportunity – they are thousand of miles apart. I debunked this idea when I learned of the unnamed Mars Rover that will launch in 2020. I quickly devoured as much information as I could about it. (That’s for a different post.)
After my excitement wore down enough, I still was unsure what could be causing my heavy heart towards Opportunity. A few nights ago, I realized I wasn’t entirely sad just about Opportunity. I realized that, for me, Opportunity was a symbol. I was a young child when the rovers went to discover new things about the red planet. Now, I have begun my adulthood.
As Opportunity, and its sister Spirit, explored Mars, I was busy growing up. My childhood was sprinkled with knowledge of the new information the twin rovers sent back. Now, I am not only saying goodbye to Opportunity, I am saying goodbye to my childhood. I was saying goodbye to being a little kid, to the routine I had grown so use to. I was saying goodbye to my childhood friends I no longer speak to. I was saying goodbye to every little thing that graced my childhood.
No, I wasn’t saying goodbye to opportunity. I was joining in with NASA’s final farewell.
I was saying welcome to all the opportunities that the future may bring.