Opportunity rover left us with one last handsome panorama of Mars

14 March, 2019, 20:42 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • NASA           Opportunity's Last Panorama

The courageous little rover, which was only meant o explore Mars slightly longer than 90 days, spent an unbelievable 15 years on the Red Planet.

In a new post, NASA reveals what it says is the final "parting shot" that Opportunity captured before the dust storm killed it.

In late spring 2018, before the storm began assembling itself over the Martian plains, Opportunity took a series of photos of the Perseverance Valley.

NASA may have declared its Opportunity rover lost, but we'll always have its data and bank of raw images.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", Opportunity project manager John Callas from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. This latest panorama is like a greatest hits of the Red Planet, containing Mars' signature reddish rocks, the rim of Endeavour Crater, pieces of Opportunity itself, and views of its tracks.

The black-and-white frames at the image's bottom-left are a result of the rover not having time to snap the location with its filters before a planet-wide dust storm encircled Mars. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater.

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The panorama is composed of 354 individual images taken from May 13, 2018 until June 10, 2018 - or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111, according to NASA.

The solar-powered Opportunity Rover's trail blazing mission was lauded as one of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration. Opportunity's scientific discoveries contributed to our unprecedented understanding of the planet's geology and environment, laying the groundwork for future robotic and human missions to the Red Planet.

Scientists have now released an insight into the rover's final moments before it was blanketed in dust - one last photo, sent back to Earth.

NASA's Opportunity rover defied all odds by outliving its mission beyond the wildest expectations.

Opportunity retired over a decade later than planned - the mission launched in 2004 and was only supposed to last for 90 days.

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