This Is the Last Panorama Opportunity Send to Earth Before It Died

In first few days of June 2018, a huge dust storm began forming on Mars. In no time, it grew so large it covered the entire planet, cutting off the Sun’s rays and preventing them from reaching the surface. For NASA’s Opportunity rover, this was a death sentence.
Opportunity's parting shot 1 photo
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU
In February 2019, NASA declared Opportunity’s mission over, 15 years after it began. But the echoes of the rover’s mission to the Red Planet can still be heard.

In late spring 2018, before the storm began assembling itself over the Martian plains, Opportunity took a series of photos of the Perseverance Valley. These images were assembled by NASA and published this week as Opportunity’s “parting shot.

The panorama shows the rover’s entry point in the Valley, rocks, the tracks it made while moving about, and even small parts of itself. NASA says the black and white frames at the bottom left of the image are that way because the rover did not have time to finish the panorama before it died.

The photo you see here is composed of 354 individual images taken with the Panoramic Camera.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery," said in a statement accompanying the photo Opportunity project manager John Callas.

Opportunity was part of the Mars Exploration Rovers program that called for two identical machines to be sent to Mars. It took off from Earth on July 7, 2003, on board a Delta II Heavy rocket.

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 the time spent there, Opportunity set the record for the longest one-drive on Mars, 721 feet (220 meters) across the Martian surface. It also holds the record for the machine that traveled the most on an alien world, 28 miles (45 kilometers).
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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