NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover has been exploring the surface of the red planet for 15 years, though there are
doubts about the future of its mission.
The US space agency plans to discuss the results of
efforts to communicate with the rover today (Feb. 13) at 2pm US eastern time.
Opportunity has been unreachable for months after a planet-wide dust storm blocked out the sunlight that powers the rover’s batteries. Since the storm has settled, NASA has attempted to revive Opportunity—or Oppy as it has been nicknamed—to no avail.
Officials have all but accepted that Opportunity, after a long mission that exceeded expectations, has finally reached the end of the road.
Here’s a look back at its 15 years and 28 miles of exploration.
Opportunity’s tire tracks, on its way out of the Victoria Crater in 2008. A false color panorama of the Endeavour Crater, seen in 2012. The heat-shield impact site of the Opportunity rover, captured shortly after it arrived on Mars in 2004. Clouds over the Endurance Crater, seen in 2004. Opportunity gets a glimpse of its own shadow in 2004. A panorama featuring Opportunity’s tire tracks, seen in 2007. An extreme close-up of round, blueberry-shaped formations in the martian soil, captured in 2004.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University/Texas A&M
A “dust devil, seen in 2010. A panoramic view of the Intrepid Crater, seen in 2010. A panorama of a rock formation within the Victoria Crater.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.
A false-color mosaic panorama of Greeley Haven, captured in 2012. A view of the approach to the Endeavor Crater, seen in 2011. More tire tracks from Oppurtunity, seen in 2016. A panorama of the Martian surface, taken in 2010.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
The Wdowiak Ridge, seen in 2014.