Old, Useful, and Determined to Shine

The headline is not referring to the growing number of active centenarians loose in the world. Rather, it is an endorsement on how opportunity will always be cherished, even as our interests drift elsewhere.

Opportunity is name of a small, solar powered rover that's been trundling around on the Martian surface for close to a decade. These days, the giant, nuclear powered Curiosity gets all the headlines, in a bold, brash sort of way. It's older cousin is relegated to the sidelines, overlooked and under-appreciated.

However, Opportunity is plucky. He does not have the fancy build or thoroughbred pedigree of his rival, but he has an iron Spirit. He was expected to fail after only a few months on the surface. His solar panels would get covered in dust, they said. His fragile suspension system would get rattled apart by the rough terrain, others scoffed. What more could his primitive sensors detect anyway?

Opportunity has proved all the doubters wrong. He has persevered, humbly scaling many obstacles. He has survived where he was expected to perish. He has thrived where he was supposed to weaken. He has done the impossible, and that makes him mighty!

Opportunity has gotten a close look at the supposed "Martian Blueberries". Now, these are not actual blueberries of course. If we found real plants growing on Mars, the vascular pressure of many folks at NASA would quickly rise to very unsafe levels. Rather, these things are mineral deposits. We do not know much about them. They appear to have been formed in water, but Mars is dry now. It would have had to been much wetter eons ago. It is also possible that they were formed through some geologic process. We won't know until we have more data.

Luckily we have a plucky little robot to find things out for us.

1 Response

  1. Helmut Albrecht
    I am glad that we still have opportunities or rather Opportunity!

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