Over 29 days last spring, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured a 360-degree panorama from multiple images taken at what would become its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. "Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geological features that our scientists wanted to examine up close". There's probably no more fitting way for her to have gone than in the strongest dust storm we've ever seen on Mars - for her, I would expect nothing less.
The US space agency has now shared the rover's "parting shot", cementing Opportunity's achievements in the history of Mars exploration. This magnificent panorama befits its excellent run as a source of data about the red planet.
Between May 13 and June 10, 2018, the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) captured images using three separate filters, one in the near-infrared, one in green light, and one in violet light.
Before a Martian dust storm took out Opportunity in June 2018, the rover was able to capture hundreds of images that NASA has now released as a panorama.
'And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers'. Those pics were snapped with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) of the Opportunity rover throughout about one month.
'It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our courageous astronauts walk on the surface of Mars, ' NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said last month.More news: YouTube launches its music streaming service
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Its scientific discoveries contributed to an advanced understanding of the planet's geology and environment, setting foundations for future robotic and human missions to the harsh environment of Mars. Since its last communication on June 10, 2018 operators sent more than a thousand commands to try and restore communications, but in February, NASA declared the mission over.
The space agency published one of the final photos they received from the 15-year-old rover.
The mesmerising Martian landscape feature sits just on the edge of Mars' Endeavour Crater. But the echoes of the rover's mission to the Red Planet can still be heard. This is because Oppy did not have time to image those frames with color filters before the devastating dust storm struck.
It landed on Mars' Meridiani Planum plain near its equator on January 25, 2004.
Its mission was supposed to last only 90 days, but it ended up doing NASA's bidding millions of miles away from home for 15 years.