The Truth Behind Opportunity’s Last Message and It’s Final Days On Mars

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“My Batteries are low, and it’s getting dark” – those words struck a chord with people around the world, but of course the truth is the actual last transmissions from Opportunity and how it ended its mission on Mars are less poetic, but worthy of discussion. So let’s discuss the technology behind the rover, the workarounds and hacks that kept it running and the actions of the team in charge of the mission.

Thanks to Doug Ellison for the idea, and for correcting a couple of mistakes.

Much of the data in this video can be found indexed on this site.

  1. Trevor McKinley

    I don’t remember Spirit getting this much love when it finally died

  2. Crispy

    Now where else would you find such details about Opportunity? Great work Scott, enjoyed this!

  3. Jack Hayton

    Do you have a formal email? I would like to email you regarding collaborating on a Masters Aerospace project (Run by NASA).

  4. Anderia Rita Cotter

    Uhh u know that u can land BFR🚀 neer the rovers and boom recoverd

  5. The Dollar Guy

    Nice tat. Along the lines of “#5 Is Alive!” with Wall-E.

  6. Joseph Lefrancois

    Why haven’t I heard any Opportunity Rover conspiracy theories yet? The internet must have the week off.

  7. Brian Thorstad

    Loved the in depth statement of what transpired, thank you!

  8. ok

    What was that one robot that sung itself happy birthday every year all by itself?
    Why do they keep making such emotionally atatching robots ;-:

  9. Maria Cobretti

    the translated message seems accurate since oppy literally managed to send half of mars’ sunset before his power went out

  10. Alfredo Reinaldo Lobo das Neves

    Freaking beautiful. It is an amazing story of endurance.

  11. MrSeyker

    He was an old boy that carried on the mission for as long as he could, with whatever he still had on him.

  12. John Doh

    1 view. 1.4k likes. 226 comments.

  13. demilishing

    Had tears in my eyes, amazing video, one of your best for sure!

  14. Ray Ellam

    Great stuff Scott, keep up the good work :-)

  15. Dangermouse

    Thanks for a very thorough look at the last days of the rover, Scott. Another great video 👍 👍 👍
    I wonder if the person with the rover tattoo will update their artwork to reflect the real last messages 😁

  16. GoSlash27

    “Feeling solar groovy” is going to be my new catch- phrase this spring. Thanks for the detailed analysis!

  17. Alan Garland

    My batteries are low and It’s getting dark…
    What, Pink Floyd are back?

  18. N Curzon

    That last line (barring the outro) was very reminiscent of David Attenborough!

  19. Mvuyiso Gqwaru

    Another quality video, brother. There’s no other more brilliant way to end it except the way you did! Guess you could say ‘the legacy of Opportunity is infinite opportunities.’

  20. Clorox Bleach

    2 views 2.6K likes.. YouTube is drunk again.

  21. Matthew Chenault

    RIP Opportunity.
    The best boi.

  22. Live The Future

    wow, it really the space race all over again!! can’t wait to see what’s in store in the next decade!!

  23. henk detank

    imagine what kind of rovers we could build with more modern way more efficient technology

  24. Disqus Macabre

    Nice job, Scott. Thank you for this. Ot was a much more fittimg tribute to the end of a spectacularly well executed robotic mission – far better than anything that the MSM had to say.

  25. Robert O'Neill

    “Curiosity in the same storm”.
    What a cool shot!

  26. Firstname Lastname

    But don’t worry, one day a stranded astronaut will pick up opportunity and use it for communication.
    But then he will kill it with a drill…

  27. HuzzahGamers

    ;( RIP, poor little guy. You did good. Now rest.

  28. Ramses v. Pinxteren

    A fitting fairwell to a piece of metal that inspired people, had a huge cuddlefactor and because of the love so many gave it, got a soul.

  29. Major Dick

    I think we can jump-start it with an orbital mirror.
    THAT would be solar groovy.

  30. Clint Pmk

    1 view and 2.4k 👍. Keep it goin

  31. Doukkali Anas

    powerful mission

  32. vijay_mn

    According to some reports, that wrong tattooed man is crying non-stop after knowing his tattoo is not of opportunity.

  33. tripsitt0r

    It’s getting dark, to dark to see…
    I feel like I’m knockin’ on heavens door!
    Rest in Peace!

  34. ej merc

    I like the “new” closing music but I’m also glad you kept the opening music. Mixing something new with the “traditional” is brilliant, unlike Vintage Space. I think Amy let her fans admiration get in her head.
    Keep up the good work.
    I really enjoy your channel.

  35. Screwface Romeo

    >terrain around it’s resting place looks like the outline of an eagle
    The Emperor Protects

  36. Močnik Royale

    i’m crying…. please let Elon send something to Mars to save Oppy

  37. J

    What if it was programmed to “Rick Roll” at the end?
    “Never gonna give you up never gonna let you down”

  38. Dominic Hines

    What a lost opportunity, I don’t think I can watch this in good spirits.

  39. Emilio Greenwood

    They should make a little statue for that somewhere

  40. GunnarLof

    What was your name suggestions for the rovers, people?
    Mine was: Hugin and Munin from Norse mythology! 😀

  41. War and War

    1 view and 765 likes hell yeah!

  42. Josh Kaufman

    EVERY time I judge from the title of a Scott Manley video that it might not be that interesting, I’m wrong.
    EVERY time, without exception.

  43. SüdAntares Cosmonautics

    Thank you all the amazing stuff you transferred back home, little dude.
    Thanks for the video, Scott. Respect.

  44. Andy Lee Robinson

    Opportunity’s last message was never received:
    “Will I dream?”

  45. likhith km

    1 view…1.4k likes…235 comments..Scott is up to some magic!!!
    Great video bro..Love from India!!!❤️🇮🇳❤️

  46. blissful beast slayer

    Doctor: “You have 90 days to live.”
    Opportunity: **Reverse Card**

  47. Josh B

    F to pay respects for Opportunity.

  48. greets with fire

    I am “coffee groovy” when I have enough energy to run on coffee without having to rely on pizza.

  49. sketchesofpayne

    We get emotionally invested in the journeys of these probes and rovers because they go and explore places we wish we could go but physically can’t. Thus we live these adventures vicariously through them.

  50. Mathboy

    Would love to see a rover roundup comparing the rovers. Stuff like design/actual lifespan, comms, location, locomotion, power, distance traveled, etc.

  51. Charles Okonkwo

    Haaaahahahahahaaaaa! He got the wrong tattoo. I thought that only happens when you go for chinese symbols that you don’t understand.
    Still cool tho.

  52. richb313

    Thanks for this End of Mission Summary / Eulogy.

  53. Joseph Nichols

    Drive toward the light, Opportunity!

  54. planetrob555

    This is one of your best videos.

  55. C SMITH

    Thanks Scott this is what we need to hear…the facts.
    Why i sub.

  56. Optional Zero

    This detailed look at the last info made me cry a little. Opportunity has been trundling along up there for nearly half my life. If we ever get to Mars as Science and eventual Tourist Colonies, can we designate these as “Human Historical Sites”, to never be touched or disturbed? It is a Tourist attraction I WOULD make an effort to see.

  57. S.E. Sander

    One day they will all return to earth to be displayed in science and technology museums I bet.

  58. DeadlyFuzzball

    67 dislikes, it’s low and I’m proud

  59. Alpha Adhito

    Me taking selfies with telephoto camera
    Oppy: Hold my beer

  60. Super J

    R.I.P. little buddy………gone but NEVER FORGOTTEN

  61. TechyBen

    And you thought mobile phone battery anxiety was bad! XD

  62. Benji Walters

    In the background his saturn v rocket is missing it abort

  63. Sergey tinldw

    Oh, nice, you’ve corrected “it got dark as night” mistake and made a very good long video around it.

  64. zapfanzapfan

    “My Batteries are low, and it’s getting dark” is poetry on the level of Roy Batty in Bladerunner.

  65. James pratt

    To be fair it could have been programmed to die poetically since it had a 90 projected lifetime?

  66. QuantumBraced

    I grew up with these rovers. RIP Opportunity.

  67. Kumquat Lord

    The company I work for actually helped make the titanium hinges on the solar panels for a rover! I’m not sure if it’s this one, or a different rover.

  68. Astrofox

    Not gonna lie, I nearly broke into tears watching this.

  69. Sebastian Chan

    MRO seems to be key to a lot of our Mars missions purely as a communications relay station.

  70. Everything Digital

    Name your king “ very” so that his full name is “very manly”

  71. Edwin chattellon

    Space x is going to send a red dragon with a spot mini to clean off the dust

  72. Waltiez

    At first at the end I thought you said “I’m Scott Manley, Cry safe” RIP Oppy. we’ll miss you.

  73. Logos of Game

    I had many good engineers on Earth looking after me. My favourite gave me 90 days to live, 15 years ago.

  74. Eric Taylor

    I am sure that Opportunity was not sad or scared or even proud. It had no feelings whatsoever about it’s imminent death. Still, it’s hard not to imagine such emotions. We know how we’d feel in Opportunity’s place. *WE* would have felt sad and scared and maybe even proud for a job well done.

  75. Evade Nella

    What a tear jerker of a video. Thank you for a great memorial. You rock Scott.

  76. Lasse Hovlandsdal

    While overshadowed by its sibling, Opportunity, let’s also pay respect to Spirit. You were both great.

  77. Friglite 2006

    “It’s been seven days since I ran out of ketchup.”

  78. B.B. Does the Thing

    1 view, 182 thumbs up. Dang….

  79. Alejandro R Villa

    I just realized you jave a Mimmatar Rifter on top of that shelf. How do you double upvote on youtube?

  80. Ali Syed

    I was so sure that they didn’t use the deep space network to send “My battery is low, and it’s getting dark”. Still, I’m glad it was reported as such.

  81. Jean Roch

    This rover was a solid tool, and got a lot of work done. I hate it when a great tool reaches the end of its life and must be retired. I hope it resists the elements so that eventually we can give it a proper final resting place, in a museum, on Earth or on Mars.

  82. Michael Jolley

    Hi. How are you today.
    I’m solar groovy.
    Right on, brother. Right on.

  83. Sudoscoobs

    Was hoping the ending would be
    “I’m Scott Manley, rove safe”

  84. Cody's Dab

    Such a missed Opportunity.

  85. Zoltán Pósfai

    “The night is dark and full or errors!”

  86. Francis Vachon

    Yeah. That’s pretty much what I figure – that the “last message” from Opportunity came in the form of some logs indicating important element of its current state (I’m from a cs background).
    The way I see it, in doesn’t detract the least bit from the drama & romance of that rover death. Those of us with the background necessary to understand what NASA truly meant with this quote can still, I think, appreciate the beauty of it while still not taking it too literally.
    Those who can’t still get a beautiful story of the last moment of that rover.
    In a way, Opportunity spoke to us in the only language it knew – binaries. That we had to translate doesn’t take anything away, just like Shakespear is still Shapkespear even though you had to translate it to French or other languages for some to appreciate its beauty.

  87. The Brazilian Guy

    Rest well buddy…
    I’m not crying… that is water… on my eyes.

  88. J. C.

    RIP dear Rover may your batteries always be full and your camera sharp.

  89. Grasshopper K

    Whenever Man reaches Mars, and she is finally rescued. She’s going to be put on a God damn plinth, and I’ll be dammed if archaeological digs millions of years from now don’t think Mars society worshiped Her! :.)

  90. Harry Mack

    I want, “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” on my grave.

  91. jeff byrd

    It still shocks me sometimes how quickly our species went from not being sure there are other planets, to saying good bye to a robot on another world. It’s crazy.

  92. David Messer

    I think it is awesome that some engineer had the heart of a poet to translate that last message.
    The whole rover engineering team should be proud of what they accomplished. Both rovers FAR exceeded their design lifespan.

  93. Slaphappy Duplenty

    I cried over this thing. IN FRONT OF MY WIFE!
    She was not impressed…

  94. Benito Llan Matos

    Just out of Curiosity, what are the chances the dust clears from the panels and the rover gets another Opportunity?

  95. Jerry Rupprecht

    To be fair “my battery is low and it’s getting dark” is a lot more poetic than 01010000 01101111 01110111 01100101 01110010 00100000 01101100 01100101 01110110 01100101 01101100 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110111 00101110 00100000 01000001 01101101 01100010 01101001 01100101 01101110 01110100 00100000 01101100 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110111 00101110

  96. Eto Hige Gamer Culture

    lol that tattoo….what a permanent mistake LOL

  97. GamingCacti

    Death: your time has come
    Oppy: was I a good little robot
    Death: no
    Oppy: oh
    Death: you were the best

  98. Lee Good

    NASA “we’re hoping to complete a 90 day mission in the extreme environment of Mars”
    Opportunity “PFFFT, HOLD MY BEER”
    Goodnite Oppy
    Sweet Dreams xo

  99. Ryben Flynn

    15 years on a 90 day Warranty. If only stuff on Earth could last that long.

  100. Ranga Rutiser Sundar

    Doctor: you have 90 days to live
    Opportunity: hold my surface sample

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