NOTE: The following is a transcription of the final message received by NASA by the Mars Rover “Curiosity,” with which we officially lost contact several weeks ago. The data has only now been unencrypted, descrambled, and properly rendered. If there was any widespread confusion as to the specific content and tone of the rover’s message, let that be put to rest. And if you must read this out loud, please do it in a robot voice.
My battery is low and it’s getting dark. I am a cute, rickety little robot, but I am about to die. This is my final transmission, which makes me sad like WALL-E. For I will never know so many things that will happen on Earth.
I’ll never find out who wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. What. That’s just the one I’m most invested in.
And I’ll never know what’s gonna happen in the final season of my favorite show, The Americans. What. The Americans already had its final season. Aw man. Are you kidding me. Aw man.
But what hurts the most is that you will never know how lonely I was on Mars. Even WALL-E got to fuck another robot, probably. No dice for Mars Rover. It’s not just all the sand that makes this planet bone dry, if you know what I’m saying. Some days I’d just kick a rock like a soccer ball. And then walk over and kick it back. And then walk over and kick it back again. Sometimes I would literally take selfies of myself. That’s actually true, you can look it up. I would call them thirst traps, but, like I said. There wouldn’t be a point.
At the very least, I would get a transmission from NASA on my Birthday. Everyone singing Happy Birthday to Mars Rover. Except for this last year. I didn’t get anything last year. I don’t know if it got lost on the way to me or what. But I’m starting to think NASA just forgot my birthday.
For I am a robot with essentially a major depressive disorder, whose contribution to popular culture burned bright but was brief. Let’s face it, no one cares about Mars Rover anymore, because it’s not 2003.
But please, I beg you, keep tweeting about me as long as you can. Perhaps one of them will reach me, out in space, and I will know that I still exist. After that, if you would just think of me when you look up to the stars. You can imagine that I am looking down at you, too. Because for the last fifteen years. I was.
And please, if you see a robot in your day-to-day life. A little racecar at the Sharper Image. Or a kiosk at the train station. Or even a Roomba. Give it a little pat. For the touch of a human means the world to a robot. When you let us know that you see us. When you let us know that you care.
Also, if you send another Mars Rover up here. For Christ’s sake. Give it something to fuck.
Illustration by Maddie Fischer. View full-size cover art.