clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SIX MEN WATCH A ROBOT DIE ON MARS: A SHORT PLAY

New, 550 comments

THE PROCESS IS INTERPLANETARY NOW

NASA Rover Sends Mars Images Back To Earth Photo by NASA/JPL via Getty Images

SCENE: Six men at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory watch as the final commands are sent to Opportunity, the Mars Rover. this past Tuesday night. Opportunity was supposed to last just 90 days on the red planet. Instead, it roamed further and for longer than anyone imagined, lasting fifteen years from its landing in January 2004 until finally being declared inoperative this week.

I.

I just hope it knew what it meant to us. It had to know, by some definition of knowing, right? It wasn’t alive in the most direct sense, sure, but it’s a Galileo thing, right? But yet it moves.

I’m looking at it like a little soul vessel. Before we sent it off, we built it, and when we built it we had to wear gloves and wipe every surface clean. No prints, no traces of humanity could be part of the system. The idea was that when we sent you up there there would be not a single cell, not a single trace of earth’s contagion on you, no messy animal complications to short out wiring or deflect a signal on a transmitting surface.

Yet there you are covered with all the fingerprints of your makers. Hands. There are hands upon you, Opportunity. I want to be sad for you being alone but you are not alone, not even now watching your last Martian sunset. No one touched with love is ever alone, not even the robot children of confused apes like us.

Oh shit Smackdown’s on

These bifocals were definitely a great investment. Barb was right. She usually is. Ah, that girl still takes care of me all these years later, doesn’t she! I really don’t do enough for her, do I?

You know what another great investment was? Age. Someone once told me that a kindly old man could steal the money right out of a bank vault as long as he was nice enough about it. Well: I’m not supposed to be in here. Just walked right in, and only picked up this phone because everyone else is doing the phone thing at this moment, and I certainly don’t want to stick out. I just walked in! A wink and whistling some old-timey shit I just made up on the spot that sounded like ragtime piano was enough for the young man at the security gate. H

He even had a machine gun!

I don’t even know how to take a picture of this thing, but it’ll get 400 bucks on EBay. Then I’ll show Barb a little appreciation. Dinners at Ruby Tuesdays. A nice night at the track. The good life, you know? A little bit of that, now.

[whispering to self] t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t t h a t’ s t h e r o b o t

I shall retrieve you, robot wife. I shall, one day, when this green-blue planet spits us into the void. O! Have I loved you from the instant we met, and did I cry such bitter tears when a rocket tore you from gravity and my arms.

I shall recharge you.

I shall awaken you from your slumber.

I shall reunite with you on the red planet and be reborn as one with you.

On the red planet I and my robot bride shall never die. Our secrets will be spoken only in the silence of the Martian deserts. It shall be heard by the universe and no one all at once.

I shall go to Arby’s after this in my Chevrolet HHR. That is unrelated. But still, I promise the witnessing universe: I shall.

Hmph

...

...

[duh duh DAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH DAH da]

HEY ROVER!

[duh duh DAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH DAH da]

HEY ROVER!

[duh duh DAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH DAH da]

HEY ROVER

WE JUST BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU

RAMMER JAMMER

AIN’T YOU CLEVER

LEFT ON MARS

TO FREEZE FOREVER

WOOOOOOO ROLLLLLLLL TIIIIIIIIIIDE

IT TOOK FIFTEEN SEASONS BUT WE GOT YOUUUUUU

MADE

YOUR

ASS

QUIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTT