Observing the Commons

In college I was a teaching assistant in the Environmental Studies Department. I was a history major in college, but loved the ES Department so took a few classes with their great professors. One of the books we read was called Managing the Commons by Garrett Hardin and John Baden. Their book talked about the need to limit personal freedom in order to protect the future of the planet. It focused on the old idea of the “commons,” a place where country folk shared public land to graze cattle, play ball, and have a concert. The commons brought people together and helped them share and manage precious land. At Dublin, we have an email address called “The Commons” to which anyone in the community can post. It somehow regulates itself and often leads to some wonderful posts. While we have plenty of opportunities to see one another on our campus, sometimes it is nice to be able to share ideas with an entire community online. I awoke this morning to read the following post from junior Alex Antonellis and wanted to share it with you as an example of the kinds of things our students are thinking about. Have a great weekend":

On January 25th 2004, at 12:05 am EST, a little rover named Opportunity sent it's first signal home to Earth from the distant and alien world known as Mars. Opportunity was one of two Mars Exploration Rovers sent to the planet. It's twin, MER-A, also known as Spirit, had landed three weeks prior. The names of the two rovers were chosen based on an essay written by a Russian immigrant in the third grade from Scottsdale Arizona:

" I used to live in an orphanage. It was dark and cold and lonely. At night, I looked up at the sparkly sky and felt better. I dreamed I could fly there. In America, I can make all my dreams come true. Thank you for the 'Spirit' and the 'Opportunity.'"

— Sofi Collis, age 9

Spirit and Opportunity were designed to explore the red planet for a brief period of 90 Earth days. Both explored the Red Planet for much longer than this. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the landing of Opportunity and the start of it's exploration. 

In June of 2018, Opportunity's solar panels were covered in dust by a Martian storm, rendering it incapable of charging it's batteries for further communication. As of it's hibernation, Opportunity had travelled over 45 kilometers and been active for 5250 days, outliving it's expected mission lifetime by over 5800% and traveling 45 times as far as originally intended.

Let us always remember the "Spirit" and "Opportunity" to make her dreams come true that Sofi Collis felt and never stop exploring, learning, and dreaming.