NASA has officially called it quits on its Opportunity Rover after eight months of hearing last time from the lander. In 2018, following and intense dust storm, the rover’s communication went dark, since then the space agency is trying to establish a contact with the rover. As a part of its attempt, agency issued more than 1000 recovery commands, this streak of recovery commands ended with one last try last week. The agency waited till 13th February to get response from the rover, but with no response from opportunity they decided to call it quits on the Opportunity rover.
NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen gave a statement saying I declare the Opportunity mission as complete, and with it the Mars Exploration Rover mission as complete. John Callas, project manage described this event as a heartbreak with the demise of Opportunity. He further explained the situation, “It’s just like a loved one who’s gone missing, and you keep holding out hope that they will show up and that they’re healthy,” he said. “But each passing day, that diminishes, and at some point you have to say ‘enough’ and move on with your life.”
Opportunity’s case has already been predicted by many people as there have been multiple rovers who are still active in the Mars Atmosphere such as Curiosity and the InSight. Opportunity was the longest-lasting lander of all the rovers sent on the mars till now. It was launched on July 7, 2003, which successfully landed on Mars on January 25, 2004. In May 2010, Opportunity surpassed the previous record for longevity of a surface mission.
In July 2015, the rover also set a record for distance covered off-Earth by travelling around 25 miles. When NASA lost signal with opportunity, the rover had already travelled 28 miles on the Red Planet. On the other hand, Opportunity’s identical twin rover, Spirit was pronounced dead in 2011 which was stuck in sand.