Monday, 27 May, 2019

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

NASA           Opportunity's Last Panorama NASA Opportunity's Last Panorama
Elijah Vega | 14 March, 2019, 11:54

The robot was killed off shortly after it got trapped in soft sand. It shows the vehicle's final resting place in Perseverance Valley located in Endurance Crater's western rim.

'And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers'. You can see it below and scroll around a larger version on the NASA press page here.

NASA sent more than 1,000 commands to Opportunity in an attempt to reestablish connection following a planetary dust storm in 2018 but was unsuccessful suggesting the rover either encountered a catastrophic failure or had its solar panels covered by dust.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement describing the image.

Also on Tuesday, the mission team released the very last photos Opportunity ever took - two blurry, black-and-white thumbnails from June 10 showing a tiny, faint sun in a dark and dusty sky.

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One important part of the mission was sharing images with the public as they came out-a practice that has now become standard for space agencies-and it has had a big impact on the way we conceive of Mars. Opportunity took the photos on June 10, 2018.

'And when that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration'.

Opportunity was only planned to last 90 days after landing on the Martian surface in January 2004, but it went on to surpass all expectations.

In February, NASA announced that its pioneering Opportunity rover had died after almost 15 years of exploring the Martian surface, marking the end of a mission which has significantly broadened our understanding of the Red Planet. But the echoes of the rover's mission to the Red Planet can still be heard.

And it took quite a storm to knock Oppy out; the maelstrom eventually grew to encircle the entire planet.

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