The Passing Of The Mars Rover Opportunity Is Certainly Sad, But It Leaves Behind A Powerful Legacy

The Passing Of The Mars Rover Opportunity Is Certainly Sad, But It Leaves Behind A Powerful Legacy

My battery is low and it's getting dark.

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On February 13th, NASA announced the end of the Mars Rover Opportunity, citing a potential for dust layering its solar panels, which prevented it from refueling after a 2018 dust storm on the Red Planet, as the cause of its demise. The golf-cart-sized robot landed on Mars in 2004 with a life-expectancy minimum of 90 days. The Opportunity's time on Mars amassed a stunning 14 years of travel encompassing approximately 28 miles, enabled by Martian winds that helped to clean off its solar panels. It captured over 217,000 images and helped to confirm the now-accepted scientific truth that the barren planet was once an aquatic sanctuary, shot through with rivers and sloshing with seas and oceans.

On the evening of February 12th, the Opportunity sent out a final transmission that was translated to "My battery is low and it's getting dark." Despite the presence of another Mars Rover (Curiosity) on the same planet, the sheer distance separating the two robots — approximately 5,200 miles — would make it near impossible for the Rover to reach Opportunity in a timely fashion. In order to navigate the unforgiving Martian terrain, these Rovers require constant guidance from Earth.

With such a long delay between message transmission and subsequent reception, even a trek of several feet can take days. In addition, the Curiosity robot is not a repair bot, and as such lacks the necessary tools that would be needed in order to repurpose its onboard instruments in order to clean off the dust from Opportunity's solar panels. Adding to the bleak prognosis, the timing of the shutdown is unfortunate with the current arrival of the Martian winter, which could compound the damage already done to Opportunity since it's no longer able to keep itself warm.

While the Opportunity's passing is certainly a sad outcome of time, it leaves behind a transformational legacy in the manner with which NASA conducts searches for signs of extraterrestrial life on other planets. One of these advancements includes a Mars 2020 mission featuring a new Rover modeled off of the Curiosity's structure, as well as a much-anticipated helicopter. The mission will land at Jezero Crater on February 18th, 2021, to look for traces of ancient life on Mars.

In addition, Europe has a newly-dubbed Mars Rover currently in development named Rosalind Franklin which is scheduled to launch in the same time window as the NASA Mars 2020 mission. That Rover is expected to search for traces of life within the top six and a half feet of the Martian surface. So while the Opportunity may be gone, its work will be remembered and utilized to build upon a new generation of robots to continue the search for extraterrestrial life.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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To The High School Senior Wishing She Could Fast-Forward To Graduation, Careful What You Wish For

Don't wish this time away.

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As the last stretch of my freshman year of college stands before me, I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago today. I've thought about how fast the time has gone, but also how much has happened in that year.

A year ago, I decided what college I was going to and was getting ready to graduate, and honestly counting down the days until graduation. Senior year was almost over, and I couldn't wait to walk across that stage, get my diploma, and FINALLY get to start my real life. However, now that it's a year later I honestly barely remember all those little moments and it feels like literally a world ago when I was in my high school and making my Senior Board full of pictures of my childhood. And part of me wishes that I hadn't wished all that time away.

So, to my high school seniors out there — I encourage you to cherish all the memories you are making. I encourage you to spend time with your parents and savor the meals you have with them and enjoy the conversations where your mom asks all the mom questions about your day, and your dad tells a story from his childhood that you've heard a million times before. I encourage you to appreciate the friends you have, and whether or not you plan to stay friends with them after graduation, be grateful for the time with them in this season and the role that they played in your life.

I ask you to look around your high school, stop and stare at the walls that you've probably been praying to get out of for a few months now and appreciate the memories and times you've had in those buildings. Whether or not high school was a great time for you or a bad time, it was a time of growth and the place where you matured and made mistakes and succeeded.

Seniors, enjoy these last few months because before you know it you'll blink and it will be a year later and you'll be miss those days that you complained about, those teachers you rolled your eyes at, and those friends that you shared that time with.

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