Who knew Mars rover Opportunity would hurt people's hearts this much?

PHOTO: Pixabay

Probably the biggest heartbreak this love month doesn't come from a breakup. It's the death of the Mars rover, Opportunity, which caused an outpouring of feelings worldwide ranging from gratitude to sadness.

Opportunity was the longest-living rover sent to space. It explored Mars for almost 15 years and has shown us what the planet looks like.

A day before Valentine's Day in the US, NASA announced that engineers in the Space Flight Operations Facility at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) made their last attempt at reviving Opportunity.

Its last transmission to Earth was at June 2018 (or even before that) after a Mars-wide dust storm hit its location. KPCC's science reporter Jacob Margolis said that its last message was the digital equivalent of "My battery is low, it's getting dark."

Man, it's like a Nicholas Sparks movie in space. I didn't expect to feel sad about a robot.

Likewise, NASA engineers and regular netizens posted their eulogies for the rover. My personal favourite is the former's Twitter Moments compilation with the tagline: "Today, we're expressing gratitude for the opportunity to rove on Mars as we mark the completion of a successful mission that exceeded our expectations."

The agency also noted that Opportunity was only supposed to go on a 90-day mission, but lasted for almost 15 years.

Through the #ThanksOppy hashtag, artists sent pieces to pay tribute to the late rover.

If you're wondering why people are so invested, it basically showed us Mars in a different perspective. It's not just "the red planet" that we learned in science anymore. Opportunity's photos showed sceneries straight out of Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as elements like "blueberries" (spheres made from gray hermatite, a type of iron oxide mineral) and a colorful rock made from manganese oxide.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement that Opportunity taught us "about Mars' ancient past as a wet, potentially habitable planet, and revealing uncharted Martian landscapes."

You can also watch a quick rundown of its journey in this video posted by the JPL: 

We may be spending the love month in different ways-many like it, many don't-but what's fascinating is that, at this moment in time, people actually joined together to mourn Opportunity. It makes sense, it was a hardworking robot after all.

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