Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

NASA Opportunity rover’s last panorama shows its final resting place

NASA Opportunity rover’s last panorama shows its final resting place

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

The sprawling, 360-degree panorama above - which is composed of 354 individual shots captured by Opportunity's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) between May 13 and June 10, 2018 - shows a whole host of intriguing features near a site fittingly named Perseverance Valley.

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.

The death of NASA's Opportunity rover was met with a global outpouring of grief from the public and scientific community alike.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement describing the image. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater. Opportunity took the photos on June 10, 2018. This magnificent panorama befits its excellent run as a source of data about the red planet. The Rover's Panoramic Camera, or Pancam, took the 354 photos in the image from 13 May to 10 June.

The solar-powered Opportunity Rover's trail blazing mission was lauded as one of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration. For these images, the filters block out all light except for three wavelengths: 753 nanometres (near-infrared), 535 nanometres (green), and 432 nanometres (violet). This is because Oppy did not have time to image those frames with color filters before the devastating dust storm struck.

NASA's Opportunity rover defied all odds by outliving its mission beyond the wildest expectations.

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, landed a few weeks apart in January 2004.

Its mission was supposed to last only 90 days, but it ended up doing NASA's bidding millions of miles away from home for 15 years.

In its lifetime, Opportunity has explored two craters on the red planet, Victoria and Endeavour, as well as found several signs of water.

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