The death of NASA’s Opportunity rover was met with a global outpouring of grief from the public and scientific community alike. The brave little rover, which was only meant o explore Mars slightly longer than 90 days, spent an unbelievable 15 years on the Red Planet. But in June 2018 NASA delivered the bad news Opportunity’s solar-powered batteries were failing as a planet-sized duststorm descended on Mars. After eight months of unsuccessfully attempting to revive the Mars rover, NASA finally pulled the plug on the historic mission on February 13.
During these stressful eight months, NASA beamed one thousand wake-up commands to Opportunity in a bid to wake the rover up.
Ultimately, NASA revealed Opportunity’s final heartbreaking message to Earth: “My battery is low and its; getting dark.”
The US space agency has now shared the rover’s “parting shot”, cementing Opportunity’s achievements in the history of Mars exploration.
The picture is an incredible panoramic view of Opportunity’s resting place in the aptly named Perseverance Valley.
The mesmerising Martian landscape feature sits just on the edge of Mars’ Endeavour Crater.
In the photo you can see portions of the Mars rover’s solar panel and low-gain antennae – possibly the last ever image of Opportunity humans will ever see again.
John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said: “The final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery.
“To the right of centre you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance.
“Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close.
“And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.”
The panorama is a composite of 354 individual photographs stitched together to form a single image.
The individual pictures where taken one by one between May 13 and June 10 or Martian Sols 5,084 through 5,111.
NASA’s Opportunity rover defied all odds by outliving its mission beyond the wildest expectations.
The trailblazing rover missions may be over but NASA said Opportunity’s legacy “will live on”.
NASA said Opportunity has laid the foundation for future missions to boldly go where no human has gone before.
NASA said: “Opportunity’s scientific discoveries contributed to our unprecedented understanding of the planet’s geology and environment, laying the groundwork for future robotic and human missions to the Red Planet.”