NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover has helped scientists understand a lot more about the Red Planet and has also shaped the public’s view of our neighbor. The rover landed on Mars back in 2004 as part of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. 15 years later, NASA has confirmed that Opportunity is now officially dead.
It’s astonishing to think how long the rover has been able to perform its duties when you consider the fact that it was expected to have a total lifespan of about 90 days. Instead, it stayed alive up there for 15 years. The Opportunity rover traveled over 28 miles on the Martian surface from the Eagle crater where the mission started to the larger Endeavour crater.
NASA confirmed at a press conference that the Opportunity rover is no longer functional. The Mars Exploration Rover team made the final attempt to reach the rover last night which remained unsuccessful.
NASA hasn’t heard from Opportunity since June 10th, 2018 and had been trying to contact it ever since. It’s believed to have been caught up in a dust storm on Mars which blocked the rover’s solar panels. Researchers tried to ping Opportunity countless times and continued to listen over the radio waves to catch its signal again but to no avail.