On August 4, NASA engineers played Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” in an attempt to wake up Opportunity, a rover on Mars that has been radio silent for months. But even the lively spirits of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley failed to stir the rover, and NASA has been playing a different song each day ever since, in the hopes that Opportunity will soon say something back.
“We’ll just keep playing until she talks to us,” Michael Staab, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who helped jump-start the initiative, told Space.com. The website then compiled a Spotify playlist of the songs that have been played, or will be, to Opportunity.
The songs range from uplifting tunes such as The Beatle’s “Here Comes the Sun” to motivational anthems such as Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” NASA, which is known for its quirky social media strategy, used to play wake-up songs for the rover when it first landed in 2004, but the tradition has faded over the course of 14 years.
The dust storm that engulfed Mars began in May and was so powerful that it blocked out the sun—not ideal for a solar-powered rover. In a press release, NASA said that the last time engineers heard anything from the rover was June 10, when the storm covered more than 15.8 million square miles, about the area of North America and Russia combined.
“It has effectively turned day into night for Opportunity,” NASA wrote.
Observers are hoping that the dust has settled enough for Opportunity to exit hibernation and power its batteries back up, which is what should happen once it senses that there is enough solar power. The rover has provided valuable images from the Red Planet, including panoramas, landscapes, and selfies, in the course of its career. Staab also told Space.com that the engineers have started a betting pool for when Opportunity will finally call home, hoping that it will be sooner rather than later.
In happier news, another Mars rover, Curiosity, turned six years old this month—and while you might not be able to play it a song, there are other ways to celebrate.
For those who don’t have Spotify, here’s the full playlist so far:
- Wake Me up Before You Go-Go—Wham!
- The Trooper—Iron Maiden
- Dust in the Wind—Kansas
- Here Comes the Sun—The Beatles
- Rocket Man—Elton John
- Everlong—Foo Fighters
- Times Like These—Foo Fighters
- Bohemian Rhapsody—Queen
- Space Oddity—David Bowie
- Life On Mars?—David Bowie
- Telephone Line—Electric Light Orchestra
- Don’t Look Back—Boston
- Keep Yourself Alive—Queen
- I Will Survive—Gloria Gaynor
- (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock—Billy Haley & His Comets
- I Won’t Back Down—Tom Petty
- Gold Heart Locket—Sam Bush