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Space & Astronomy

NASA's Opportunity rover is officially dead

By T.K. Randall
February 14, 2019 · Comment icon 19 comments

Opportunity exceeded everyone's expectations. Image Credit: NASA
The rover's mission, which saw it trundle across the Martian surface for over 15 years, is now complete.
The announcement, which brought equal parts sadness and celebration, had been all but inevitable after Opportunity stopped communicating eight months ago following a dust storm.

Opportunity launched on July 7th, 2003 - three weeks after its twin rover Spirit - and landed on Mars at Meridiani Planum on January 25th, 2004 to begin its 90-day exploratory mission.

Incredibly, it managed to far exceed expectations by spending one-and-a-half decades exploring Mars.

"I'm standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude to declare the Opportunity mission as complete," said Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
"It transformed our understanding of our planet, everything we do and think about in our planetary neighborhood with Mars and elsewhere relates to the research from that and the engineering breakthroughs that came from that."

During its time on Mars, Opportunity managed to cover a whopping 28 miles - a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that it had only been designed to cover 1,000 meters.

"We had expected that dust falling out of the air would accumulate on the solar arrays and eventually choke off power," said Mars Exploration Rover project manager John Callas.

"What we didn't expect was that wind would come along periodically and blow the dust off the arrays."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (19)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by AllPossible 5 years ago
I wonder if Curiosity will ever see that rover. Be interesting for them to link up. I'm wondering how far apart they are, I'm sure they have gps and NASA knows there positions.
Comment icon #11 Posted by AllPossible 5 years ago
My question is how difficult is it for them to try it again once in awhile? If you said they've tried to communicate with it 1000x in 8 months, why not attempt it again. Maybe Curiosity can find Opportunity & give her a nudge lol. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by RoofGardener 5 years ago
GPS doesn't work on Mars, but I would imagine that - in principle - it WOULD be possible to navigate Curiosity over to Opportunity... IF it is in range ? Remember, Mars is a BIG place ! 
Comment icon #13 Posted by toast 5 years ago
Comment icon #14 Posted by toast 5 years ago
The rovers are more than 5000 miles apart.
Comment icon #15 Posted by InconceivableThoughts 5 years ago
Im sure many many years from now we will find the rover repair it and put it in a museum.
Comment icon #16 Posted by AllPossible 5 years ago
Ok cool, Thanks for info!!! How many miles did the Opportunity travel? Never really thought about the distance between them
Comment icon #17 Posted by Gary Meadows 5 years ago
You are just the worst.    That is all.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Jodie.Lynne 5 years ago
I don't know about anyone else, but this made me cry. I know that I anthropomorphizing the rover, but it almost sounded like Opportunity was a living being. 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Inn Spectre 5 years ago
Well if NASA have been trying to contact it, they must be making the same assumption. When dealing with a remote object, one has little choice.   That's a matter for their judgement, but given the possibility that it could easily become uncovered again and its only problem is discharged batteries, I'm sure they'll consider trying periodically.   That saying requires a qualifier: "under exactly the same conditions". Given that the conditions could well change, it is not insanity to make further attempts.    

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