On July 7, 2003, two Mars Rover robots were launched into space. Their destination was millions of miles away – to the surface of Mars. After a flight that took over 6 months, both robots landed on Mars with flawless perfection, using a parachute and airbags that had to deploy and then release the robots at precisely the right times – using automated procedures. Right at the start of this impressive documentary, the genius of the scientists and engineers that invented this amazing mission showed their impressive abilities to invent and create. Originally both of these robots were supposed to last only 90 days. In the end Spirit lasted over 6 years and Opportunity lasted and incredible 15 years, yet another tribute to the brilliance of so many smart people who worked for NASA.
This documentary is about the science, the pictures and the hardships these two robots endured that included solar flares and huge dust storms that at times would clog the machinery and then at other times would clean off the solar panels providing needed energy for each robot rover. Throughout all of these many problems for so many years, the inventive brilliance of some of the most intelligent people in the world came through time after time. Just to get a simple message to the robots so far away – could take over 20 minutes. The crew on earth had to keep up with the time on Mars and over a period of weeks and months, their schedules included being at work after midnight to constantly monitor the progress of the mission. When the Opportunity robot finally stopped working on February 13, 2019 after over 15 years, understandably the entire project crew became very emotional, almost as if they were losing a child. This show of real emotion over 2 robots is one of the best parts of the great documentary.
“Goodnight Oppy” is the best documentary I have seen about space travel in many years and receives my highest recommendation.