NASA is Finally Ready to Say Goodbye to its Opportunity Rover

nasa goodbye opportunity mars rover

Last Opportunity

After 15 years of crawling across the surface of Mars, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team sent the last-ever commands to its Opportunity rover today. The rover landed on Mars in 2004 for what started as a 90-day mission. It has since become the longest-running rover NASA has ever sent to Mars.

A vicious dust storm forced Opportunity into radio silence back in June — the fiercest Martian storm NASA had ever observed. Dust covering the rover’s solar panels caused it to drain its battery reserves. Now, a bitterly cold Martian winter means that Opportunity had virtually no chance of waking itself up.

Its last message home, according to science reporter Jacob Margolis: “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”

A Successful Career

Opportunity allowed us to uncover a number of Mars’ secrets.


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