NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Mission Concludes
Feb 22, 2019
NASA recently announced that its Mars Rover Opportunity mission has officially reached an end. The rover first touched down in the Eagle Crater on Mars in 2004. It was deployed just three weeks after its twin rover, Spirit. Both rovers were deployed on opposite sides of Mars to provide greater exposure to the Red Planet. At the time of the mission’s commencement, both rovers were only expected to last three months.
The Spirit rover was declared dead in 2010 after falling in to a sand trap. But the Opportunity rover was able to continue on. All in all, Opportunity lasted 5,111 Martian days- Martian days last approximately 40 minutes longer than a day on earth. It travelled more than 28 miles, when just half a mile would have been considered a win.
The Opportunity rover was powered by solar panels. In June of last year a major dust storm roiled the planet and the Opportunty’s solar panels were unable to generate enough power to stay awake. NASA officials hoped that once the storm cleared the sun would reappear and the panels would be able to wake the rover up once more. Unfortunately this was not the case. After unsuccessfully trying to communicate with the Opportunity once more last week, NASA officially declared the mission dead. However, the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012 continues to explore other parts of the planet.
For further information about the Opportunity rover, click here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mars-exploration-rover-opportunity-mer/