NASA declared the 15-year mission of the Mars rover Opportunity over on February 13.
We explain what the mission, when it ended and why was it abandoned.
What was the Mars rover Opportunity?
The rover was active on Mars from 2004 to 2018.
When it landed on the Red Planet in 2004 it joined its twin rover Spirit.
Together they were party of Nasa’s Mars Exploration Rover programme.
Sadly, Spirit got stuck in soil in 2009 and was declared defunct in 2011.
Opportunity’s mission found extramaritian meteorites and spent more than two years studying the Victoria Crater.
The rover survived numerous dust storms and travelled more than 28 miles.
Opportunity discovered tiny iron-rich spheres that suggested Mars had a wet climate in the past.
It also found the first meteorite to be discovered on another planet.
John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover project manager, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Opportunity has “greatly expanded our understanding of the Red Planet”.
When did it launch?
The rover launched on July 7, 2003.
It landed on Mars on January 25, 2004 until contact was lost on June 10, 2018.
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Why was the mission abandoned?
The mission was abandoned on February 13, 2019 after the rover failed to respond to repeated signals that had been sent since August 2018.
The rover last made contact with Earth eight months ago after it was caught in a global dust storm.
Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa, said: “I’m standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude to declare the Opportunity mission as complete.”
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