NASA has finally announced the “death” of the Opportunity rover. After 15 years on Mars, we finally had to say goodbye to the small robot. Back when it was launched, NASA expected it to last less than a year. Opportunity surprised everyone and it spend years on the red planet, sending precious information back home.
However, a dust storm covered the entire planet back in summer. The rover had to shut down in order to try to survive it. After the storm has passed, NASA did not manage to contact the robot. It is unclear what happened, although the most plausible scenario is that Opportunity’s solar panels are covered by dust.
Now we finally found out the last words of the brave little robot. It appears that, as the storm was descending, Opportunity sent this message “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”. The news made everyone sad and numerous touching messages were received from all over the world
John Callas, manager of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project, made sure to acknowledge the important achievements of the robot: “But what I suppose I’ll cherish most is the impact Opportunity had on us here on Earth. It’s the accomplished exploration and phenomenal discoveries.”
Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, also released a statement about Opportunity. He ended on an optimistic note: “It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars. And when that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration.”