On January 26th, 2274 Mars days into the mission, NASA declared Spirit a 'stationary research station', expected to stay operational for several more months until the dust buildup on its solar panels forces a final shutdown.If the Spirit rover is just a little robot crawling around on a little red planet somewhere, then why are we so sad that it is dying? The rover is certainly easy to anthropomorphize, but I think there is more to it. The spectrum of sentient to insentient, is just that a spectrum. When we speak of these concepts we make subtle judgments through the connotation of our words. For example is the robot going to die, or is it going to shutdown? On some level it must be alive, or, at least it was.
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