NASA's Opportunity Rover on Mars Is a Bratty Teenager


They grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s hard to believe that it was only 13 years ago that NASA grounded its Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars. Well, Opportunity’s done some growing up since that time, and on Tuesday, the anniversary of Opportunity’s mission start on Mars, NASA celebrated their teenage bot.

In a cute little video, NASA’s researchers and technicians at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory talked about some of the ways that Opportunity is like a typical teen. “Sometimes she stays up really late talking to her friends, Odyssey and MAVEN, the Mars Orbiters,” explains Kyle Cloutier, the tactical uplink lead.

NASA workers also noted that Odyssey loves to take and share pictures, and it doesn’t always call home. “Uh! Sometimes she gives us the silent treatment,” Cloutier says.

“It’s not that she doesn’t want to call home,” notes Spacecraft Systems Engineer Kevin Rich. “Sometimes the Endeavour Crater rim blocks Opportunity’s communication path.”

Check out the whole birthday celebration below — but keep in mind that Opportunity is only a teenager if we’re going by Earth years. Mars has a much slower orbit around the sun, so Opportunity is only 7.4 Martian years old. That’s way, way too young for Opportunity to get her ears pierced … or whatever the rover equivalent of that is.

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