Science

This Is the Last Panorama Opportunity Send to Earth Before It Died

This Is the Last Panorama Opportunity Send to Earth Before It Died”

In February, NASA announced that its pioneering Opportunity rover had died after almost 15 years of exploring the Martian surface, marking the end of a mission which has significantly broadened our understanding of the Red Planet.

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. NASA says the black and white frames at the bottom left of the image are that way because the rover did not have time to finish the panorama before it died.

The mesmerising Martian landscape feature sits just on the edge of Mars' Endeavour Crater. This magnificent panorama befits its excellent run as a source of data about the red planet.

This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery. "Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geological features that our scientists wanted to examine up close".

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

Mission team members have now stitched together 354 of these images, taken from May 13 through June 10, into a gorgeous panorama of the rover's final resting place.

The trailblazing rover missions may be over but NASA said Opportunity's legacy "will live on".

Opportunity was part of the Mars Exploration Rovers program that called for two identical machines to be sent to Mars.

Its scientific discoveries contributed to an advanced understanding of the planet's geology and environment, setting foundations for future robotic and human missions to the harsh environment of Mars. But the echoes of the rover's mission to the Red Planet can still be heard.

The agency made one final attempt to contact Opportunity Rover (pictured) eight months after the spacecraft last made contact.

Opportunity was only planned to last 90 days after landing on the Martian surface in January 2004, but it went on to surpass all expectations.



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