NASA’s Opportunity rover that had vacationed on Mars to gather planet information, has been officially declared dead. A dust storm last year caused its batteries to remain dry and cold, preventing it from “waking back up.”
Many have left heartfelt recognitions to “Oppy.” One tattoo tribute, posted by author and journalist Charles Finch, has recently gained a lot of social media attention. But not for what you think.
Finch posted a photo of the NASA rover tattoo along, with the phrase “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” While it’s not his tattoo, whoever got the memorial ink is most likely boarding the Tattoo Regret Train.
The phrase has since been misattributed to NASA. It actually originated in a tweet that was written by a Twitter user as a joke, to summarize the last information Opportunity sent back to Earth. Although the quote is heartfelt and emotive, the rover obviously didn’t send this message "my batter is low and it's getting dark," back to us. It simply sent back numerical readings on its power level, as well as the amount of sun hitting its solar panels.
While that alone might not warrant tattoo questioning, it gets worse. The quote, while hinting at Opportunity rover on his deathbed, as the dust storm covered Mars, doesn’t even apply to the rover depicted in the tattoo tribute.
The rover drawn up isn’t actually Opportunity at all. This was pointed out by users that brought up that the lack of solar panels is “a dead giveaway.” The tattoo is actually an image of NASA’s much younger rover, Curiosity. Curiosity did not kill the cat, and this rover is still alive and well on Mars to this day.
Curiosity rover does have batteries, but its onboard nuclear power source eliminates the need for solar panels at all. Also, the rover doesn’t need the Sun to function.
Remember, researching your artist is just as important as the design.