NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

14 March, 2019, 20:41 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

The trailblazing mission ended after almost 15 years of exploring the surface of Mars, but its legacy will live on.

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

As the sky darkened around it last spring, Opportunity snapped many photos of its environs - Perseverance Valley, on the rim of the 14-mile-wide (22 kilometers) Endeavour Crater - using its panoramic camera.

The death of NASA's Opportunity rover was met with a global outpouring of grief from the public and scientific community alike. Visible in the image is the Endeavor Crater's rim, the rover's tracks, and unexplored regions on Mars' landscape.

"To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavour Crater rising in the distance", he said.

The rover may be gone, but its legacy will live on thanks to the wealth of data and observations it made during decade-plus time exploring the Red Planet.

The panorama is composed of 354 individual images provided by the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111. "Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close", he said.


Communication with Opportunity was lost on June 10 a year ago, when a planet-wide dust storm - one of the most intense in decades - hid its location.

In the photo you can see portions of the Mars rover's solar panel and low-gain antennae - possibly the last ever image of Opportunity humans will ever see again.

The solar-powered Opportunity Rover's trail blazing mission was lauded as one of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration.

NASA launched the Opportunity rover as part of its Mars Exploration Rover program in 2004.

The upcoming 2020 rover mission will for the first time seek signs of past microbial life on the planet, together with the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover.

Its mission was supposed to last only 90 days, but it ended up doing NASA's bidding millions of miles away from home for 15 years.

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