For 15 years, NASA engineers played a “wake-up song” to the rover Opportunity every day. Listen to the best songs from the Mars Morning Routine playlist.


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dated: 2022-11-20 14:16:21 .

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • There’s a new documentary about the Opportunity rover’s life on Mars. “Good Night Oppy” will be available to stream on November 23rd.

  • The film shows how mission scientists created a wake-up playlist for the rover’s morning routine.

  • For more than 15 years, NASA’s Opportunity rover has been a robotic geologist on the surface of Mars.

To bid farewell to NASA’s intrepid Opportunity Rover in 2018, mission personnel at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided to play Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

A new documentary, Goodnight Oppy, available to watch on Amazon Prime Video on November 23, tells the story of Opportunity – affectionately called Oppy – who spent 15 years exploring Mars for signs of ancient water.

For more than a decade, engineers played the rover a song every time it “awakened” and began analyzing rocks and soil on the red planet.

“When I think of Opportunity, I think of that place on Mars where our intrepid rover far exceeded all expectations,” John Callas, project manager of the Mars Exploration Rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a 2019 press release when he lost communication with the rover. “But what I will cherish the most is the impact that Opportunity has had on us here on Earth,” he added.

Mission controllers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory relayed final commands to the rover on February 12, 2019. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Choosing a daily wake-up song for Opportunity’s morning routine has been a tradition dating back to the rover’s first landing in 2004.

From ABBA to George Michael, wake up to an impressive playlist created by NASA engineers for the Opportunity Mars rover.

Opportunity landed on the Red Planet three weeks after its twin rover Spirit landed. According to NASA, both rovers exceeded their expected lifetime of 90 days exploring and collecting data on the planet’s surface. Mission engineers played The Turtles’ “So Happy Together” when Opportunity boarded Spirit on Mars.

Opportunity’s view of Endeavor Crater on Mars, March 9, 2012. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Mission engineers performed Bruce Springteen’s “Born to Run” on the day the Opportunity rover first rolled off its lander. “We knew it was going to be a good day,” Matt Wallace, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission manager, said at a news conference that day. “Rover woke up fit and healthy to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ and proved to be a good choice.”

Opportunity set a number of interplanetary driving records. He set the record for a one-day trip to Mars in 2005, covering 721 feet, according to NASA. It is the only rover to complete the equivalent of a marathon, covering 26.2 miles in 11 years.

Opportunity captured an image of the Martian dust devil on March 31, 2016. NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to NASA, dust devils are tall clouds of dust that inhabit the surface of Mars. While dust storms can silence rovers, dust devils can blow away some of the dust covering the rover’s solar panels. Mission Control released Kansas’ “Dust In the Wind” hoping for such a cleanup event.

For both Opportunity and Spirit, these dust cleanups allowed the rovers to survive for years past their original 90-day expiration dates.

Opportunity takes a dusty selfie in December 2011. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

1980’s Horror! The classic “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” is sure to wake everyone up – including the robotic geologist. To start the day on Mars, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory played a lively George Michael hit in the control room as they powered up the rover before starting the day’s tasks.

Simulated images show what NASA’s rover Opportunity saw when a global sandstorm on Mars eclipsed the Sun in 2018 as it cut off communications with Earth.NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU

As mission engineers tried to re-establish communications with the rover, they conveniently played ABBA’s “SOS.”

In June 2018, a planet-wide sandstorm covered its site, covering the solar panels that power it, according to NASA. The robot could hibernate due to dust storms that sometimes last for months.

Months later, mission engineers hoped that Opportunity would resume operations as it had in the past when the weather cleared. This time it was quiet.

Read the original article on Business Insider


For 15 years, NASA engineers played a “wake-up song” to the rover Opportunity every day. Listen to the best songs from the Mars Morning Routine playlist.

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