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To some, this may seem weird or even ludicrous, but the fate of space probes and rovers sent out into the abyss of space can be thought of as the ultimate example of Dying Alone. The scientists and engineers who build them often spend years dreaming, planning, constructing, and testing them, then wait years as they hurtle through the void towards their destinations, then see them shine in glory as they add to the sum of human knowledge. But, inevitably, and often all-too-soon, wires corrode, performance declines, and batteries fade. Then the people who have spent years together with both their colleagues and their creations must say goodbye as an entire chapter of their life closes. And far away, so far away that even their death is known only to themselves for minutes or hours because light itself is too slow to bring the news to their creators, a small, hardworking machine-made of materials that have known a single world for 4.5 billion years only to be sped away on plumes of smoke and thunder-has died while crushed under acid-soaked oceans of air or while the screech of thin, frosty winds swept about it, or in the dim starlight that breaks the eternal darkness to which it has been consigned...forever.
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