Mars Opportunity rover panorama

 


Mars sure is a lonely place

Recap:

Opportunity’s mission launched on July 7, 2003, and landed on the Red Planet on January 24, 2004. NASA hoped the rover would survive its 90-sols (Martian days) mission but to the surprise of everyone, it lasted 55 times longer than its designed lifespan (more than 14 years).

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover – B, better known as Opportunity, stopped responding to commands in August 2018, prompting NASA to officially declare the mission’s end last month.

This week, the space agency released the final 360-degree panorama snapped by the rover.

Comprised of 354 individual images captured between May 13 and June 10 of last year, the panorama has been stitched together to highlight Perseverance Valley, a system of shallow troughs on the inner slope of the western rim of the Endurance Crater.

Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, touched down on the opposite side of Mars roughly three weeks earlier. Spirit got hung up by the rocky terrain in 2009 and stopped communicating with NASA in 2010.

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.

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