We've Created Our Own Playlist to Wake Up NASA's Sleeping "Opportunity" Rover

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 - 12:23PM
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 - 12:23PM
We've Created Our Own Playlist to Wake Up NASA's Sleeping "Opportunity" Rover
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Right now, there's a life-or-death drama going on in one of NASA's control rooms as scientists and technicians desperately wait for a signal from the 15-year-old Mars rover Opportunity. Back in June, Opportunity rover got hit by a dust storm while trundling across the Martian surface, and though the rover is still intact, the dust managed to blot out the sun long enough to drain Opportunity's solar-powered batteries. Since then, the rover has been in a low-power "sleep" mode , and NASA personnel aren't sure if it'll ever wake up again. In a heartbreaking display of devotion for the 384-pound robot, NASA staff have been playing songs in the control room to encourage Opportunity to wake up. They've even published their playlist of songs (titled "Opportunity, Wake Up!"), which includes Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," David Bowie's "Space Oddity," and The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun."

But maybe NASA missed an important detail—perhaps what Opportunity really needs is to hear more songs sung and composed by robots, you know, so it can relate. That's why our "Wake Up Opportunity" playlist includes some tunes by GLaDOS, Daft Punk, and robo-themed DJ Porter Robinson. Here's the list!

1. "Coming Home" by Shining Toy Guns

"Coming Home" is a kind of sequel to Bowie's "Space Oddity," which recasts the tale of Major Tom's tragic stranding in space. Like Bowie's classic, "Coming Home" is a pretty good summation of Opportunity's saga so far—technical malfunctions, losing contact with Earth, and apparent death. However, "Coming Home" reimagines the Major's demise as the moment when he realizes that he's not stranded a million miles away from home—space is his home.

2. "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence

This one's pretty straightforward—"WAKE ME UP! I CAN'T WAKE UP!"

3. "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen

Opportunity's original mission was supposed to last just 90 days. That's three months. Fifteen years later, Opportunity was still going strong, surprising everyone. Hopefully, Freddie Mercury's energetic lyrics remind Opportunity that it'll take a lot more than dust to stop the bravest and most resilient rover in NASA history.

4. "Cara Mia Addio" by Portal

This song is from Portal 2's soundtrack, and is sung by the game's robotic antagonist GLaDOS (short for "Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System"). The Portal games revolve around mankind's obsession with science , and the second game ends with this serenade, whose Italian lyrics apologize for all the hardships and pain caused by the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

5. "Sad Machine" by Porter Robinson

"Sad Machine" is the story of a young boy waking up a robot girl from a century-long, possibly post-apocalyptic slumber. The song is meant to be a duet, with the female vocals performed by a Vocaloid called Avanna, and the chorus is simultaneously melancholy and hopeful: "And though I know, since you've awakened her again/She depends on you, she depends on you/She'll go alone, and never speak of this again/We depend on you, we depend on you."

6. "Contact" by Daft Punk

If there's one song that would be the perfect soundtrack for Opportunity powering up its batteries and re-establishing its long-awaited contact with Earth, it's Daft Punk's "Contact." Composed by robots for robots, it's a great inspirational track to wake up our sleepy rover.