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Opportunity rover: What will happen to Opportunity after rover declared DEAD

Opportunity rover: What will happen to Opportunity after rover declared DEAD

"To have a 90-day mission last for 15 years, and then end as a outcome of one of the most ferocious dust storms to hit Mars in a very long time, we can walk away with our heads held high", Steve Squyres, a Cornell professor and principal investigator on the mission, told Gizmodo.

The six-wheeled vehicle that helped gather critical evidence that ancient Mars might have been hospitable to life was remarkably spry up until eight months ago, when it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm.

John Callas, manager of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project at JPL (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) said its achievements will go onto affect space exploration. NASA last heard from Opportunity on June 10, 2018, after a dust storm encircled the planet, blocking the rover's solar panels.

Flight controllers tried numerous times to make contact, and sent one final series of recovery commands Tuesday night, along with one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You", in a somber exercise that brought tears to team members' eyes. The team at NASA had attempted to talk to Opportunity several times per week once the storm began to clear using the Deep Space Network, an global array of giant radio antennas supporting interplanetary spacecraft missions, and over 600 attempts were made without any response received.

Opportunity was easily the longest-lasting lander on Mars, despite being created to last just 90 days, and also set a roaming record of 45 kilometres before coming to rest, somewhat fittingly, in Perseverance Valley.

During 14 years of intrepid exploration across Mars, it advanced human knowledge by confirming that water once flowed on the red planet - but NASA's Opportunity rover has analysed its last soil sample.

Some in the Martian exploration community criticized NASA for its plan to rouse the rover.

With that, the Mars Opportunity Rover was officially declared dead, its almost 15 years of service on Mars, on Sol 5352-the number of days Opportunity spent on Mars-came to an end.

The Mars Opportunity rover has now been abandoned after its power cut out on the surface of the Red Planet.




NASA's record-breaking Opportunity rover may be gone, but its legacy is assured. It was there, using geological instruments, that it confirmed that liquid water was once present on Mars. "I heard this morning that we had not heard back", said Zurbuchen, explaining that the "beloved" rover remains silent.

"I can not think of a more appropriate place for Opportunity to endure on the surface of Mars than one called Perseverance Valley", Michael Watkins, director of JPL, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"What... I'll cherish most is the impact Opportunity had on us here on Earth", Callas told NASA.

With its mission is declared over, NASA will no longer issuing commands to Opportunity, leaving it on Mars for good.

Opportunity explored Meridiani Planum near Mars's equator and meridian.

Opportunity and Spirit launched in 2003 and landed on Mars in 2004, searching for signs of ancient life.

Opportunity touched down on Mars on January 25, 2004.

While some NASA spacecraft have endured for longer than 15 years, those are orbiter or flyby missions-they're not encountering the sheer number of hazards Opportunity did on the ground.

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