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The Mars Rover “Opportunity”


Jie Chen, Staff Writer

On February 13, 2019, NASA officially announced that the Mars Rover, “Opportunity” (AKA Oppy), has fulfilled its Mars Exploration Mission, in other words, the little explorer is now rest in peace.

During last year June, a global-wide (literal meaning of “global”) sandstorm swept through Mars’ surface, and as the sand blanketed the sky, Opportunity’s battery went low and could not recharge (it is solar-powered). Even the NASA engineer tried over a thousand times sending recovering command, Opportunity still fails to contact NASA back. Its final message sent to Earth was “My battery is low and it is getting dark.”

Oppy was launched into space on July 7th, 2003, and landed on Mars on January 25th, 2004.

The mission was originally supposed to last 90 days, yet its durability surpassed expectation, and so the mission was extended 60-folds, from 90 days to nearly 15 years. Some of Oppy’s greatest achievements was that it found evidence that shows Mars was wetter a long time ago, and signs that show conditions on Mars could have sustained microbial life. Also, Oppy found hematite, a mineral that forms in the water, further confirming that Mars once had water. Over the course of its mission, Oppy has traveled across over 28 miles of Mars’ surface and has sent 217,000 photos back to Earth, all showing the marvelous view of the mysterious planet.

Its final resting place is named “Perseverance Valley”.

“The records, discoveries and sheer tenacity of this intrepid little rover is testament to the ingenuity, dedication, and perseverance of the people who built and guided her,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

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