Everyone was holding their breath, waiting, hoping that Opportunity would send something back. It didn't matter if it was atmospheric data, the composition of a rock, anything. They just needed to know that it was safe.
The computers stayed silent.
Eventually NASA declared the little robot dead. Not one face was passive at the news. Tears of sadness for Opportunity fell heavy and hard. For them, Opportunity wasn't just a job, a data collecting machine. It was a friend, someone who deserved company and kindness. It hurt for them to think about how Oppy died alone. When the final message from the rover was revealed, the room was silent. Tear stained faces resolute in solidarity for the little rover that Could.
"My batteries are low, and it's getting dark."
NASA brought in therapists to help the control staff deal with their grief. Many handed in their notices citing that they couldn't work with any other rover, not after Opportunity. The teams that stayed were reassigned to Curiosity. They did their jobs, but it would never be the same as before. Curiosity would never hold their hearts the way that Opportunity did. Curiosity would never have birthdays celebrated as raucously as Opportunity did. Curiosity would never, ever have people as happy to come into work as Opportunity did.
Opportunity was a one in a million rover. From ninety days to fifteen years through thick and thin, it had the support of a team at its back - proud and smiling.