Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Science | By

Opportunity rover left us with one last handsome panorama of Mars

Opportunity rover left us with one last handsome panorama of Mars

The color panorama was built via a sequence of 354 images snapped by the rover's Panoramic Camera between May 13 and June 10, 2018.

The Opportunity rover spent almost 15 years rolling around Mars, collecting data for researchers on Earth. The rover lost touch with NASA in June after it reported the approaching storm that ultimately covered its solar panels with dust and rocks.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", said John Callas, Opportunity's project manager, in a press release.

You can view the finer details of the huge panorama at NASA's JPL website. In the immediate foreground just left of center you can see a rocky outcrop that the vehicle had been investigating using its robotic arm in its final days.

This image is an edited version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover's Pancam from May 13 through June 10, 2018. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

'It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our fearless astronauts walk on the surface of Mars, ' NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said last month. But Opportunity beamed this super-speckly shot home after it sent the two thumbnails; indeed, the noisy pic was the last piece of data that Opportunity ever transmitted, NASA officials said.

'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'. They found a great deal of such evidence, confirming that the Red Planet was much wetter, and potentially habitable, in the ancient past.

Opportunity's mission launched on July 7, 2003, and landed on the Red Planet on January 24, 2004. Spirit wasn't declared dead until 2011, and Opportunity was still going strong before the dust storm hit.

And it took quite a storm to knock Oppy out; the maelstrom eventually grew to encircle the entire planet.

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