The shadow of the Opportunity Rover stretches across the barren Martian landscape in this self-portrait taken with the rover’s front hazard-avoidance camera on July 26, 2004. NASA/ JPL-Caltech
After nearly 15 years of faithful service and discovery, NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover mission came to an end this week. Launched in 2003 it landed on Mars’s Meridiani Planum on Jan. 25, 2003. When it last contacted mission control on June 10, 2018 it was under it had ambled across 28 miles (45 km) of dust, dunes, hills and rocks, making major discoveries along the way and sending back gobs of photos that made you feel like you were along for the ride.
Opportunity Rover completes Mars mission. Great summary of its travels on the Red Planet.
We’d still be there were it not for a planet encircling dust storm that began in late May last year. Dust eventually grew so thick at the rover’s location it turned day into night and robbed the roving robot of the solar energy it needed to recharge its batteries to stay warm and maintain its instruments during nights of –100° F temperatures. NASA folks tried all summer and fall to contact Opportunity, hoping that an ...