Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Spirit Of Spirit

Why do we care about poor little Spirit?
A robot is shutting down; why all the fuss?
My theory, assuming you might want to hear it—
It’s not just a bot: it’s a real part of us.

For over six years, I could wander a planet;
This rover named Spirit would act as my eyes!
Much more than suspected, back when they began it,
So, yes, I’ll be sad when the poor creature dies.

You say, “it’s a robot—it never was living!
It’s metal and silicon, lenses and gears!
Exploring the surface of Mars, unforgiving,
Controlled from a distance, for over six years!”

Of course, this is true. It’s a robot, just driving;
It just blindly does what it’s programmed to do.
But it does so where I have no hope of surviving,
And when it shuts down, then I’m blind on Mars, too.

I think it is good that the “death” of this rover
Is met with emotion—a tear, or a frown.
We all hit the off-switch, when our time is over…
I hope you’ll feel likewise when I power down.

Inspired by this post by The Astronomist, and of course the full cartoon at XKCD.


jdhuey said...

We humans just can't help but to anthropomorphize machines, especially robots. When I read the XKCD cartoon I welled up a bit. I can't imagine how the scientists and engineers that work with it on a daily basis are going to feel.

Dan said...

Wonderful poem, it is a lot more like my feelings toward spirit.

Also, this "version" of the XKCD cartoon also got me a smile back after reading the original.

Cuttlefish said...

Oh, that is wonderful, Dan!