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NASA's Opportunity rover mission on Mars over

The expected 90-day mission lasted 15 years
13:07, 14 February 2019

NASA's Opportunity rover mission on Mars over
NASA

NASA announced the Opportunity rover mission over on February 13.

The Opportunity rover stopped communicating with Earth when a severe Mars-wide dust stormblanketed its location in June 2018. After more than a thousand commands to restore contact, engineers in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) made their last attempt to revive Opportunity Tuesday, to no avail. The solar-powered rover's final communication was received June 10.

“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.

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It’s so hard to say goodbye! Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards, our Mars Opportunity rover explored the surface of the Red Planet and broke records during its 15-year mission. It vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity. In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley. Today, we bid farewell to the rover that stopped communicating with Earth when a severe Mars-wide dust storm blanketed its location in June 2018. In this image from 2010, Opportunity used its navigation camera for this northward view of tracks the rover left on a drive from one energy-favorable position on a sand ripple to another. The tracks that Opportunity left on the Martian soil will pave the way for future robotic and human exploration of the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/@nasajpl #nasa #space #mars #redplanet #thanksoppy #opportunityrover #planets #solarsystem

Допис, поширений NASA (@nasa)

Most importantly, though, Opportunity should be remembered for the series of discoveries it brought us concerning the Martian surface, and the new understanding we gained of what the terrain of Mars is actually like. Here are some of its top highlights.

It discovered the very first meteorite — an iron-nickel fragment — on the surface of another world.

Related: NASA explores Ultima Thule, the most distant object ever explored in space

Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars, arriving in January 2004 about three weeks after Spirit landed. The rovers had 90-day lifetimes, but each far exceeded that. Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after traveling eight kilometers, while Opportunity logged 45 kilometers before losing contact last June.

Related: SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 rocket with communication satellite

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