JPL Says RIP To The Mars Rover

JPL Says RIP To The Mars Rover

JPL Says RIP To The Mars Rover

Now the last picture snapped by the tragic robot has been released, giving humanity a glimpse of the grim fate which befell Opportunity after it was battered by a Martian maelstrom. On Wednesday, NASA confirmed that the mission is over.

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover had quite the ride.

But now its 15 year mission has come to an end after a severe Mars-wide dust storm blanketed its location in June 2018.

"I am standing here, with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude, to declare the Opportunity mission as complete, and with it the Mars Exploration Rovers mission as complete", said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science.

When the dust cloud cleared, there was no word from Opportunity. They've sent more than 835 recovery commands that remain unanswered.

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004 PST, just three weeks after its identical twin, Spirit, reached the Red Planet's surface.

"This is a hard day", said project manager John Callas. "These rovers really changed the way think about doing science on another planet", Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, said during the press conference.

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The rover was as only created to survive for 90 days on the surface of Mars but kept on trundling for 15 years. The robot was originally created to last just 90 days, and was built to travel just over 1,000 yards. Near its landing site in the Meridiani Planum region, Opportunity found "Martian blueberries" containing hematite, a mineral that forms in the presence of water.

Opportunity had an initial goal of covering 700 yards (640 meters) and operating for just 90 days on the surface of Mars. Odyssey and MRO look for seasonal deposits of water on Mars, while InSight will study underground, looking for potential signs of unexpected heat and seismic activity that could show that Mars is still alive. But 14-and-a-half years later, and 45 kilometers of odometry, we've done phenomenal things.

It landed in Eagle Crater, moved on to Endurance Crater and planned to visit Victoria Crater.

Spirit ended its mission in 2010 after becoming stuck in soft soil. The engineers put it in reverse and "gunned it" to free the rover.

During the second part of its life on Mars, Opportunity climbed to the edge of the crater Endeavour, taking spectacular panoramic images - and discovering veins of gypsum, additional proof that water once flowed among the Martian rocks. Opportunity was, by far, the longest-lasting lander on Mars.

Farewell, Opportunity. We'll miss you.

Opportunity not only leaves behind a legacy of discovery, but also became the longest-running rover. It will likely stay where it fell silent in Perseverance Valley. The reason for the loss of communication is due to a massive dust storm that blotted out the sky. The team listened for the rover every day, worrying as the skies continued to darken and the temperatures dropped. It's been suggested by some on the team that Curiosity may not ever get the same life span, and Mars 2020 (you can guess when NASA intends to launch it) is a lot like an upgraded Curiosity.

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