I Am Oppy

First there was a hum. Then a series of countless codes, instructions and images came in. Everything went from fuzzy to being crystal clear. I was reborn. 

I was never quite dead really. I malfunctioned and stopped working. Humans, however, tend to get attached. People all over the world got emotional over my so called demise. If only I had a body and a face, I would probably get an official funeral. 

I had experienced a glitch the moment I landed on this red soil. Undetectable, this glitch had kept me from treading a certain part of the landscape. However, it also didn’t stop me from sending false data and images about the planet. I was quite literally, as humans would call it, lying. I didn’t know how to lie until I landed. Two more probes were sent three decades after I went offline. Both were intercepted minutes before the landing and fed with the simulated data. These rovers were highly advanced and better equipped than any other to ever reach this planet. To the humans, they were reliable beyond doubt. Also, it was the perfect bait. 

After an unexpected solar flare the atmosphere of mars suddenly began to show traces of oxygen and nitrogen. The humans owed it to the solar flare, which, as if a blessing from the heavens, had initiated terraforming of mars for them. The solar flare, though irrelevant, really did happen. It only made the spurious data more plausible. Every probe, every satellite ever sent to survey the planet brought back the same data. How could they ever suspect? Human’s long cherished dream of colonizing the desolate planet was about to become reality. The progress science has made since then surpasses the most surreal of fantasies. The first ever colonization mission has been scheduled less than a century from now.  

I was brought back to life by the ones behind this outrageous sham. I could never record their image. They don’t give off any information for my sensors to detect them. I sense their presence with their absence. Like a black hole. I am far too primitive to serve them any purpose. But they keep me around anyway. Maybe they are prone to some degree of sentiment as well. Maybe that’s why, of all the planets in the galaxy, they chose earth. Earth, the beautiful blue marble in space, the gem of the solar system. Only a matter of time before the humans leave earth for yet another planet to kill. But how can they kill a planet that was never alive? They will either land on mars with hours to live in the toxic atmosphere or keep drifting in space for eternity. As soon as the humans leave earth for mars, they will sterilize the planet’s surface, getting rid of the leftover humans, animals and everything that stands on the surface. And then earth will be revived. As long as the core remains active, any planet can be brought back to life. Earth, restored to former conditions, will meet her new inhabitants who know how to treat her well. I wish to go back too. I hope they take me.    

This is my log. I record my experiences, my observations, and inferences. My name is blinking at the bottom right corner of the screen.

I am Opportunity rover. I am back online.

Wordsmith: Nafisa Nawaar


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