Picture Book Party Spring 2019
PBParty 12: The Robot that Could: The True Story of Mars Opportunity Rover, NF
The Robot that Could: The True Story of Mars Oppotunity Rover
Non Fiction
Word Count:

Dear Agent,

Mars rover Opportunity captured the hearts of humans all over the world when its nearly 15-year mission officially ended on February 13, 2019. Lasting far longer than the planned 90 days—sols on Mars—the robot geologist set travel records, captured stunning images, and showed that the harsh, dry planet was once much wetter. It set the groundwork for future discoveries about the possibility of life on Mars. Space missions have always inspired children to become scientists, engineers, and astronauts. Opportunity’s story of perseverance did all this, while also touching on the humanity of the scientists behind the robot.

My 1,180-word nonfiction picture book, THE ROBOT THAT COULD: THE TRUE STORY OF MARS ROVER OPPORTUNITY, takes readers on a journey from launch to touchdown on Mars and finally to those final months of Opportunity’s mission when scientists had to say good-bye. I’ve distilled the wealth of information from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab at the California Institute of Technology, including corresponding with an engineer at JPL who is working on the Mars 2020 rover, into a heartfelt narrative of Opportunity’s life on Mars and what it means for the future of science exploration on the Red Planet.

This is my first nonfiction picture book. My nonfiction works include eight years as a puzzle magazine editor for Penny Publications/Dell Magazines, regular contributions to the parenting website Red Tricycle (, and articles for regional newspapers. My fiction credits include the self-published MG adventure PIRATE ISLAND (Shimmer Publications, October 2017), the Milford Public Library’s 2018 One City One Story selection; the self-published YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND (Shimmer Publications, June 2018), originally published by MuseItUp Publishing in 2013; and poems in Highlights Hello magazine. I am also a PAL member of the SCBWI. I have other picture book manuscripts available upon request. Thank you so much for your time.

On a summer night in 2003, a Delta II rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in a blast of vapor. Folded up inside like an origami crane, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity was on its way to the Red Planet.
Cheers from NASA scientists rose up from Earth.
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This contest entry was posted on Wednesday, 27 March 2019.