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Dust Storm- Opportunity EOM, the end of the beginning of a new era in robotic spaceflight
djellison
post Feb 13 2019, 04:42 PM
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I don't really know what words to use.

Without MER - (and more specifically, with Steve and Jim committing to that policy of releasing all that raw imagery) there would be no UMSF.

Fromthe first image I ever posted here, this feels like the place where Opportunity and Spirit's adventures were documented more thoroughly, with more passion and dedication and creativity, than anywhere else. That wasn't my doing - it was this entire crazed community of like minded explorers.

Without UMSF I'd never have got the chance to meet people from MER and from JPL - I'd never have been invited to speak at conferences about we band of merry armchair astronauts exploring the solar system through the vicarious use of all the amazing data that gets thrown out into the digital ether

And they would never have been crazy enough to ask me to work at JPL back in 2010. I'd never have got to work on Eyes on the Solar System and the MSL landing animation and DSN Now and all the other cool projects I did in the EPO world here. I'd never have worked with the innovative folks in the OpsLab using the HoloLens to let people 'walk' on Mars. I'd never have started training for Ops as an ECAM PUL on MSL, and with those skills, become an ECAM/MI PUL on Opportunity, even if for a brief spell. We would never have taken that crazy selfie on Sol 5000. I don't think JunoCam would even exist without MER proving that the outside world can be entrusted to take good data and make great things with it.

And personally - because of the hospitality of people like Paolo, Alice, Veronica, Scott - Pasadena became home. Most specifically, without Scott I'd never have met my amazing wife Jenn, and our little girl Amelia - about to turn 14 months old - would not exist. MER was, in every way, life changing. And it was life changing for so many other people as well.

Today, at our farewell celebration press conference, I will wear my MER Sol 5000 shirt with immense pride.

How far we've all come.

I'll leave it with the note I left on Monday's on Quill ( MER's note taking and reporting portal for operations ) on the Engineering Camera page for Sol 5352


QUOTE
Today is the last planning shift of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

The last use of the MER-B Engineering Cameras are as follows

Front Hazcam
Sol 5104 - 1F581291004RSDD2FCP1121L0M1

Rear Hazcam
Sol 5087 - 1R579785525RSDD2FCP1311L0M1

Navcam
Sol 5086 - 1N579700548FFLD2FCP1981L0M1

Descent Imager
Sol 1 - 1E128278513EDN0000F0006N0M1


Over 5104 sols, Opportunity's engineering cameras took 66,662 images for a total
acquired data volume of 92,942 Megabits.

For every single person lucky enough to have served as an ECAM PUL on
Opportunity or Spirit - it was and remains the privilege of a life time. To
every scientist and engineer who brought this incredible mission to fruition
and worked tirelessly to make these two rovers so productive for so long – we thank you.



Fair winds and following seas, Opportunity.

We have the watch.
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nprev
post Feb 13 2019, 05:12 PM
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The Forum logo has been updated with our first-ever animated banner by supermember and director of Galilean photography Hendric in memorial to and in celebration of this historic program and its enduring legacy.

As Doug, our founder and chairman, just wrote, MER was life-changing for a great many people in a great many ways. In addition to him I know of several members here who have gone on to new careers, new adventures, and new lives all through the power of our marvelous little corner of the web. A great many of us including me have made new friends for life, and ALL of us have continued to share the adventure of robotic spaceflight at a level that few of us--esp. us older people--could have ever imagined not that long ago at all.

And it was all because of two tiny little rovers on a tiny little planet far, far away...and above all, the massively talented people who put them there.

We owe them more than we can ever repay. Ever.

Sleep well, Oppy. You have earned your rest.


--------------------
A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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Explorer1
post Feb 13 2019, 05:49 PM
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https://xkcd.com/2111/
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FOV
post Feb 13 2019, 06:50 PM
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In 2014 me and my hubbie made an Oppie pilgrimage of sorts. No, we did not visit JPL-that wasn't in the cards. What we did do was drive around Sudbury Ontario and visit many of the locations named by MER scientists for some very scientifically interesting rocks, like Whitewater Lake, Onaping (some scenic falls at the terrestrial Onaping), Copper Cliff, Vermillion, Chelmsford. I imagined Oppie roving around even as we did in a car. I thought about the asteroid that blasted out the Sudbury crater millions of years ago, depositing ejecta as far as the Dakotas.

But now, no more Oppie roving to find beautiful places like The Spirit of St. Louis, amongst many others.

Goodbye Oppie. You did unbelievably great work. I will miss you.
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nprev
post Feb 13 2019, 07:00 PM
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Placard up now on NASA TV for brief, beginning at the top of the hour.


Started.


--------------------
A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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hendric
post Feb 13 2019, 07:18 PM
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Thank you Nick for the wheel.gif opportunity wheel.gif to make the memorial banner. A longer post with my thoughts and a link to the original files is in EVA chit-chat.

You did good rover, you did good.


--------------------
Space Enthusiast Richard Hendricks
--
"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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JRehling
post Feb 13 2019, 08:01 PM
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I didn't think about this till now, but while I was at NASA, I had a very tiny (nano-sized) role in planning some software for the upcoming MERs. That was all the way back in 2001, and now, an astonishing 18 years later, the MER mission is complete.

I hope everyone has enjoyed this mission which was a sort of anti-failure a success ridiculously greater than anyone reasonably expected at the outset. I still think of that tense period in January 2004 when Spirit's software bug worried us as Opportunity was closing in for its own landing, and an online odds-making site gave only a 66% probability that Opportunity would land safely.

I even enjoyed taking my own photos of the dust storm that ultimately killed Opportunity. It felt like being part of the whole mission, from beginning to end.

Who knows when anything like this will come our away again: A rolling mission on another planet so long-lived that its images and discoveries become overwhelming in their scope.

So long as Curiosity carries the torch, the streaks goes on of humanity controlling at least one active rover on the surface of Mars. Next year, two more take flight to keep it going.

No one can predict the course of human history on Earth, but the probability seems high that in distant futures of glory and catastrophe here on Earth, there will still be a silent, wheeled Opportunity at rest in the Meridiani region of Mars, witnessing sunrises and sunsets for millions, perhaps billions of years to come, but rolling no more.
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gallen_53
post Feb 13 2019, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Feb 13 2019, 09:01 PM) *
.... I had a very tiny (nano-sized) role in planning some software for the upcoming MERs. That was all the way back in 2001...

There were MANY people involved with designing and building MER. My tiny role (with Mike Tauber) was using Traj/Fiat to do the zero margin Thermal Protection System thickness determination for the aeroshell. My work appeared in the "Mars Exploration Rover Aeroshell, Critical Design Review, 30-31 May 2001" presented by Lockheed Martin.

QUOTE (JRehling @ Feb 13 2019, 09:01 PM) *
... No one can predict the course of human history on Earth, but the probability seems high that in distant futures of glory and catastrophe here on Earth, there will still be a silent, wheeled Opportunity at rest in the Meridiani region of Mars, witnessing sunrises and sunsets for millions, perhaps billions of years to come...

For what it is worth... My prediction is that MER-B (my preferred name for "Opportunity") will be on public display at a future Martian version of the Smithsonian. Just as school children today like to have their pictures taken standing next to the Apollo-11 CM, future school kids will be romping around the MER-B exhibit and leaving behind empty beverage cans... A happier ending....
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TheChemist
post Feb 13 2019, 09:56 PM
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I have not posted here for god knows how many years, life and other obligations take their toll, but I have been silently following Oppy from a distance
Today I felt like I lost a friend of mine.

Farewell Oppy, and thanks for bringing excitement to our miserable earthly lives for so many years.

Cheers to my old friends at UMSF wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif
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Stardust9906
post Feb 13 2019, 10:08 PM
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Farewell Oppy and thanks for the memories. Sleep well.
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paxdan
post Feb 13 2019, 10:16 PM
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A big and heartfelt thank you to the MER project team for allowing us to share in the exploration of the solar system. Spirit and Opportunity became a part of my life. I checked in essentially everyday for 15 years. Thank you also to Doug for this place and to everyone at UMSF who enriched the experience with their image wizardry, mapping and commentary.

When I look up at Mars in the night sky I will remember.
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marsophile
post Feb 14 2019, 12:10 AM
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Can we have one more DSN transmission tomorrow to send Valentine's cards to Oppy? laugh.gif

Oppy, we will miss you!
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atomoid
post Feb 14 2019, 01:09 AM
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Well said! I can't add much that hasn't already been expressed other than Oppy/Spirit being the reason I was able to seek out and find UMSF so many years ago, needing a enlightening alternative to junk-plagued forums elsewhere, so many thanks go out to Doug for keeping such high standards, not to mention everyone involved in all aspects of making MER such an incredible mission.

So its an expectantly sad yet satisfying end to one truly epic mission that has so profoundly changed our scientific, and just as much aesthetic, conceptions of the 4th planet. I hope to see a day when Mars has the equivalent of park systems to preserve all these traverse paths as historical monuments.

I think Oppy has become to many of us a sibling traveler, as we look back at a decade and a half and remember where we were and what was going on in our lives when Oppy reached various destinations over the years, she'll always be a part of that too.. Here's to Oppy, may you finally rest in peace!
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MikeH
post Feb 14 2019, 01:28 AM
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This is very sad news. It's similar to the loss of Pathfinder to me. They, like Spirit and Curiosity, were easy to imagine as agents of exploration, because they were carrying out an activity that any of us could do: driving around a desert. Other than the craters and the tint to the images, they could have been on earth. Even craters aren't unknown here! Their images seemed to show a place that wasn't a strange new world, but was simply unexplored.

I like the comment by Steve Squires that Explorer1 posted. I would add: it took a planet-encircling dust event to stop it.

Good work to all of the people involved with the program. You put another paving-stone in the path to the stars.

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David Caso
post Feb 14 2019, 06:39 AM
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Djellison - Regarding Your Post Tuesday 4:42pm

Unmanned Space Flight is one of the finest websites ever. All of us research and surf everywhere, always have. Found UMSF back when Oppy and Spirit had both recently landed. Have looked in (you know how it is) every day since.

A hole in one! With blueberries! A wide plain with Columbia Hills in the distance.

UMSF Is different. Wonderfully different. There is no other site like it I've found.

Unchanging in the best way honest, reasonable, level-headed, forthright. Compelling. The quality of the discussion, the respect, all the people that know so much going back and forth. It challenges the mind.

We can hit the Home Page now to browse many probes past, present and future.


All this because y'all wanted back then to create an open forum for clear, knowledgeable discussion of extraordinary exploration made easily accessible to everyone around the world?


You have succeeded beyond all expectations. As Oppy succeeded beyond all expectations.

If UMSF essentially came about because of the MER expeditions...

Then Opportunity will live on, in a very real way. As the Heart of Unmanned Space Flight.

To anyone, everyone who has anything to do with making and sharing and explaining these journeys -

Thank You.
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