Good Night Oppy, Ryan White, Prime Video, 2022

During the 1990s, NASA lost three Mars missions: Mars Observer, Mars Climate Orbiter, and Mars Polar Lander. So a lot was riding on the rovers Spirit and Opportunity when they launched in 2003. Originally intended to survive 90 Martian days on the planet’s surface, both rovers remained active for years: Spirit until 2011 and Opportunity, remarkably, until 2018. In Good Night Oppy, the director, Ryan White, uses archival footage, interviews, and artistic renderings to compose a love letter to Opportunity and the scientists and engineers who worked on it. It’s touching to see how attached the NASA team became to Opportunity, which overcame dust storms to reach Endeavour Crater after a three-year trek. Although the film falls firmly in the inspirational-documentary genre, it is a fun watch. —rd

The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math, Manil Suri, W. W. Norton, 2022, $32.50

Inspired by the popularity of his 2013 New York Times opinion piece, “How to fall in love with math,” the mathematics professor Manil Suri has expanded on the topic of math appreciation with The Big Bang of Numbers. Aimed at math novices and enthusiasts alike, the book begins with the titular Big Bang, an “origins” story in which Suri shows how to create math’s basic building blocks—numbers—out of nothing. He then goes on to discuss how those numbers can be used to devise arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and physics, and ultimately to construct the entire universe. By limiting the formulas and equations, the author has created a very readable tour of mathematics that emphasizes ideas over calculation. —cc