2111: Opportunity Rover

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Opportunity Rover
Thanks for bringing us along.
Title text: Thanks for bringing us along.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic is a paean 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 a straw-person argument, as White Hat is lamenting that "Kids these days..." look at the world through their camera phones (and thus don't experience it directly). To this Randall appears to counter that sharing and showing to others is an exciting part of the joy. The comic ends by thanking Rover (and NASA) for allowing the general public to receive the pictures and data and shows some "followers" which represents everyone on Earth listening to the words from Rover as it described (and shared) 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 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.

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


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[White Hat is watching while two people in the background hold their phones to use their cameras.]
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.]
But for me, the really exciting part of finding something new
Cueball: Wow, you gotta come see this!
has always been showing it to others.
[A space probe is approaching a planet.]
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.]
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)