2111: Opportunity Rover

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Opportunity Rover
Thanks for bringing us along.
Title text: Thanks for bringing us along.


This comic is a tribute to the Opportunity rover and its nearly 15 year mission in which it sent back publicly available photos and research from Mars to Earth. The evening prior to this comic uploading (Feb 12, 2019), Nasa's JPL sent their final data request to the rover, in hopes that it would respond. When it did not, the rover was declared to be officially lost.

The comic starts with White Hat, looking at some people taking photographs and lamenting the fact that they're taking pictures all the time, saying "Kids these days...", a common complaint about younger people by their elders. This could be considered a Straw man argument, as White Hat is lamenting that the younger generation look at the world through their camera phones and thus don't experience it directly, and believe that they lose some of the joy of the event in the process - an opinion he has expressed previously in 1314: Photos.

To this Randall appears to counter that sharing and showing to others is an exciting part of the joy, an opinion which he also expressed as Cueball in 1314: Photos. He then proceeds to say that the Opportunity of exploring a completely new world is an exciting part of the exploration, and expresses joy in the fact that MER-B Opportunity was able to share its experiences in its 15-year, 45-kilometer journey on Mars with the entirety of humanity.

The comic ends by thanking the Opportunity rover (and NASA) for allowing the general public the incredible experiences it had on Mars in its 15 Earth-year lifetime, to receive the pictures and data, while traversing along hostile terrain for us. The last panel shows some "followers" which represents everyone on Earth listening to the words from the rover as it transmits the incredible experiences it had on Mars in its 15 Earth-year lifetime. Note, perhaps the reference to "dust devil" suggests these may have been the last such descriptions as that may refer to the deadly global dust storm that likely killed the rover and ended the mission. The dust-devils were also likely responsible for the amazing extended missions for both rovers as they tended to blow the accumulated dust off the solar panels.

The title text shows gratitude for the rover, which brought everyone on Earth, including Randall, along in its journey by sending images of the journey to Earth. Also, Randall used to work at NASA (as a robotocist no less), so as much joy as it brought the world at large, it probably felt just a little more personal for him.

The Opportunity rover also appeared in 1504: Opportunity, while its twin rover Spirit also had a dedicated comic in 695: Spirit.


[White Hat is watching while Jill and Cueball in the background hold their smartphones up to use them as cameras. A narrator (Randall) comments with text above them:]
Narrator: Some people complain that we see the world through our cameras.
White Hat: Kids these days...
[Cueball points to the left with his hand while shouting and holding his other hand up near his mouth. Again there is narrating text, both above and below this time.]
Narrator: But for me, the really exciting part of finding something new
Cueball: Wow, you gotta come see this!
Narrator: has always been showing it to others.
[A black panel shows a space probe approaching a planet. White narrating text is above and below.]
Exploring an entire new world
would already be the adventure of a lifetime.
Imagine having the chance to share every new sight
[A queue of seven people is seen following a rover driving in front of them on a rock filled landscape. Its track is shown behind it. The people do not leave foot prints though. The rover speaks. At the top of the panel there is a last narrating text inside a small box across the top of the panel. The seven people are Cueball, Jill, Hairy (looking back), another Cueball holding his hand to his chin, Ponytail and finally Megan, who points forward.]
Narrator: with seven billion friends.
Rover: ...and here's a trench I dug with my wheel, and here's where a dust devil went right past me, and over there is the biggest cliff I've ever seen, and this is...

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The subject of this comic, the Opportunity Rover, is being officially declared dead today, the day the comic was released. I wonder how long this comic has been ready, waiting to eulogize the rover. Blaisepascal (talk) 18:03, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm not crying, you're crying! But seriously, I hope this one becomes a poster... one of my favorite comics in a good long while. -- 20:25, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Stop slicing those onions ! 14:12, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
 :'( Linker (talk) 20:15, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, more of a paean than "a discussion about ... " the Opportunity rover, and more, it justifies a yearning for the "opportunity" in general to share the knowledge with the world. Uplifting, for me. PGilm (talk) 20:59, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

The fact that the rover ran for 15 years is already magical. He was just designed to last several months (I sincerely use this surname), and people at NASA was suspecting that it may just last days. Yet he worked so hard for us. When I saw the movie about him 10 years ago, I wad SO moved. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436595/ All of you should watch it now. I had no idea that I would edit a wiki page about him today. Kazeita (talk) 23:51, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

On one hand, this feels like a subtle nod to xkcd itself. In a sense, a lot of xkcd is Randall's own journal of what he thinks of every so often, and he gets to share it with millions and millions of people. On the other, "and here's a trench I dug with my wheel" makes me think that Opportunity was using time outside of its feed to slowly but surely dig out an actual 100-meter or so trench. Getting larger. And larger. Until one day, it will rival even the trenches of Earth. And on that day...Their conquest will have begun. 03:33, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

The Netherlands? 23:05, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm wondering if Rover is truly "dead". (Is there an explanation in an outside article?) Possibly another device, or some future human expedition, could dust off its solar panels and/or replace the batteries and revive it.These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 05:34, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

In the fourth paragraph of the explanation, there are a couple of sentences about the reference to dust devils. I would submit that the mention of a dust devil in the comic is more likely a reference to this image captured by Opportunity in 2016: Opportunity's Devilish View from on High. MWinter (talk) 21:20, 17 February 2019 (UTC)