NASA today officially announced that the rover Opportunity — built to last 90 days — is dead, only three weeks after celebrating its fifteenth anniversary operating on the Martian surface.
This is what project scientist Steve Squyres had to say about the rover’s finish:
“When I saw that the storm had gone global, I thought this could be it,” said Squyres, explaining that Opportunity was a solar-powered vehicle and needed the sun for energy. “To have Opportunity – designed for 90 days – taken out after fourteen and a half years by one of the most ferocious dust storms to hit the planet in decades, you have got to feel pretty good about it.”
He said: “It was an honorable end, and it came a whole lot later than any of us expected.”
The article gives some nice background into the personal stories of many of the scientists who worked on Opportunity for all those years. For some overall scientific context, see this article. Or you can read the many rover updates I have written in the past two and a half years, which will give you a detailed sense of Opportunity’s travels along the rim of Endeavour Crater.
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