Farewell, Opportunity. And thank you.

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a giant space nerd. So I was so sad this morning when NASA confirmed that the Mars Rover Opportunity is officially 'dead.' But what a life it had...

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 25, 2004. The little rover was supposed to operate and send back data for 90 days. But, it kept going and going and going. For over 14 years Opportunity traveled close to 30 miles around the red planet,helping scientists better understand the geography and water possibilities on our closest celestial neighbor.

But last June, a dust storm covered the solar panels of Opportunity and it went dark. Since then, scientists and engineers have sent more than 835 commands, hoping to wake the rover up. Hoping that the Mars winds might have blown away some of the dust. But it wasn't to be.

Today, after 5,352 days NASA send one final message to Opportunity, the Billie Holiday song, "I'll Be Seeing You," a song that ends with the lines...

I'll find you in the morning sun

And when the night is new

I'll be looking at the moon

But I'll be seeing you

How can you resist a scientist that is also a poet?

I've always believed that space travel is the best we are, not just as Americans but as human beings. The idea that we can leave Earth to explore, not for war or to conquer or to rule but to learn and to share that with the whole world. It's the best we can be.

So thanks for everything, Opportunity. See you on the other side.

(FYI, thanks to Abby Garrett for the gorgeous tribute.)

Opportunity tracks

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