We think everybody remembers the touching story of the rover Opportunity that could easily compete with such tragic masterpieces as Titanic or The Green Mile. Today, with the release of the last shot made by Opportunity, we would like to pay tribute to this little device that made a huge impact on the development of space exploration.
Opportunity, the second Mars rover of NASA, was launched in the July of 2003 and landed on the surface of the red planet on January 25, 2004, 3 weeks after its “elder brother”, the rover Spirit.
Since that time Opportunity was travelling on the surface of Mars taking pictures of the Martian landscape and craters, which gave priceless information to NASA scientists for their research.
At the beginning of 2018, Opportunity was still functioning successfully. This little device managed to beat all the odds. It has outrun the NASA estimates of its possible lifespan by 55 times. The rover set an absolute record as for the longevity of its mission.
On June 12, 2018, Opportunity had to enter “sleeping mode” due to a powerful Martian dust storm that blocked the sun rays and made it impossible for the rover to charge itself. It hasn’t contacted NASA since that time, except for a few brief messages and shots.
On February 13, 2019, NASA has officially ended the mission of Opportunity and declared it dead. They have also published the last words of the rover that touched millions of people from all over the world: “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”
Recently, NASA has also published the last few pictures shot by Opportunity. Here is a panorama of the Martian landscape, consisting of 354 images. The last goodbye from Opportunity.
Frankly speaking, it’s not technically the last snap of Opportunity, but it’s last picture was gray and blurry, so it wasn’t actually of any particular importance.
Opportunity may be gone, but it left a powerful legacy after itself. This little device became a breakthrough in the exploration of space and it will always be remembered.
“It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars. And when that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration,” said the representative of NASA, Jim Bridenstine.
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