When NASA launched the Opportunity Rover on an exploration mission to Mars, they designed it to survive for 90 days. What was intended to be a short sojourn turned into a voyage that lasted almost 15 years, as the rover, lovingly nicknamed “Oppy,” surpassed all expectations.
Launched alongside its twin rover, Spirit, in 2003, Oppy’s goal was to analyze the rocks and soil on Mars for evidence of water. When the scientists and engineers at Mission Control realized just how resilient Oppy was, they sent it on a dramatic journey over the tumultuous terrain, commanding it one step at a time from 34 million miles away. With unique access and archival footage, Ryan White’s heartfelt doc places special focus on the men and women who guided Oppy through extraterrestrial dust and dirt in a delicate, but inspired, balancing act that kept the rover exploring.
Famed for giving birth to Star Wars, Industrial Light & Magic brings their visual effects mastery to the film, rendering Mars in high-fidelity CGI that puts you right alongside the action of Oppy’s ambitious trek. Its perseverance serves as a reminder that these machines are made of more than just nuts and bolts, built on the hopes, dreams, and boundless curiosity of our whole species. Good Night Oppy rides high on the problem-solving of space travel while capturing the overwhelming emotion of seeing something you created making its way out into the Universe.
Being introduced to a handful of young, future scientists is the most aspirational ideology of screening this doc. In addition to discovering machines, like people can also develop amnesia, acute arthritis and just cease to exist just human beings whose hearts are unable to beat one more time. Or, the fact that drinkable water has been discovered making the possibility of humans inhabiting another planet closer to a reality that neither you nor I will be alive to witness.
With the melancholy classic from Ella Fitzgerald “I’ll Be Seeing You” playing in the background, your heart will swell with pride at what this extraordinary team of experts was able to accomplish for the good of mankind. Good Night Oppy will educate, inspire and leave you hopeful that our space program will be in good hands for centuries to come.