After 15 Years Of Service, Mars Rover "Opportunity" Declared Officially Dead

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 18, 2019

It had a twin - Spirit - which also landed in 2004, but Spirit stopped working in 2010.

The rover did its job and more, lasting 14 years longer than the 90 Mars-days it was originally created to operate. Both rovers took off in 2003.

Oppy was only designed with a 90-day mission in mind, so the 14 years it spent exploring far exceeded expectations.

This led NASA to announce this week that will not be hearing from Opportunity ever again. After almost a year of trying to communicate with the non-responsive bot, NASA is cutting ties with Opportunity and ending its 15-year mission. The team received nothing but silence after the final attempt.

So, what happened to cause the rover to fall silent, and apparently be lost? Thus, blocking any source of sunlight that may come on Opportunity's solar panels.

NASA held a media roundtable and an industry day today focused on the human lunar lander effort, but most of the news was about CLPS.

NASA tried tirelessly to revive the rover. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, astronauts have flown aboard Russian Soyuz - at a cost to NASA of more than $70 million per seat.

"While it is sad that we move from one mission to the next, it's really all part of one big objective", he said.

Opportunity had weathered dust storms before. The storm had a bad effect on the transmission of the rover.

NASA hasn't heard from Opportunity since June 10th, 2018 despite trying to contact it since then.

These previous challenges were solved through weeks of research by Opportunity's controllers on Earth, who ran simulations and made physical mockups to determine the best way to recover the rover.

The level of "atmospheric opacity", or how obscured the sky is, which scientists denote as "tau", reached a value of 10.8.

"We're looking forward to breaking some records on Mars", Spohn boasted. Apparently, the Opportunity's last message to NASA was essential, "My battery is low and it's getting dark".

The six-wheeled vehicle that helped gather critical evidence that ancient Mars might have been hospitable to life was remarkably spry up until eight months ago, when it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm. These samples may be returned to Earth by a future global mission. Opportunity kept on going. Also, autumn is coming for the southern hemisphere in roughly a month, and winter follows starting in October.

Rosalind the rover will pick up where Opportunity and Curiosity left off by examining a key, unexplored dimension on Mars - depth. Without power to warm itself, it's highly unlikely that the rover's components will survive until spring returns in April of 2020.

"When we drove off the lander, we saw something very unusual - there was a lot of sand and gravel".

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