As many of you know, NASA has stopped making contact to our beloved Mars rover, Oppy.
It was June 2018 when a large Martian dust storm hit Opportunity in Perseverance Valley, and from then on lost all communication to Earth.
NASA tried one more time to communicate with Opportunity on February the 12th, with no luck.
For eight months, NASA have waited patiently and tried sending recovery commands, yet nothing has been heard since last year. Along with sending signals and commands, Oppy’s team tried communicating using the Deep Space Network, and even sent songs to wake Oppy up.
The last time any data had been transmitted, Opportunity’s temperature was about -30 degrees Celsius, and she had very little sunlight reaching her solar-panels. Her last words were “My battery is running low and it’s getting dark.”
Although Oppy may never wake up again, there’s no reason not to celebrate her fantastic 15 years of Mars exploration.
Originally she was built to move 1 km and last 90 Martian days, but Oppy managed to exceed that. Opportunity had lost front wheel steering, lost her flash memory, been trapped in sand, and experienced heater malfunctions, yet she managed to travel 45 kilometres in total and lasted 60x longer than what we expected.
Let’s not forget her amazing achievements.
Oppy’s discoveries helped shape our understanding of the history of Mars. Above is one of her photos of clay minerals within rock, suggesting the surface had come in contact with water in the past, and was much warmer.
Another fantastic piece of evidence of water was found when Oppy took this picture of “blueberries” near her landing site. Inside these rocks is the mineral haematite, which forms in water.
These are only 2 of the 52 rocks she examined for minerals. And of course, we can’t forget the 217,000 images transmitted to Earth.
Thank you Oppy. We couldn’t have done this without you!