NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Is Officially Dead After Sending One Final Message

NASA Rover dies on Mars.NASA

Built to last just 90 days, NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover stayed strong for 14 years, weathering all sorts of obstacles.

After years of sending bursts of data to NASA scientists, Opportunity has reportedly died on Mars, after sending one surprisingly moving final message.

Opportunity – which had been solar powered – had been exploring the Perseverance Valley at the time of its ‘death’.

A violent dust storm struck the Red Planet, blacking out the sky and stopping Opportunity from getting any sunlight on its panels. The final image taken of the resilient rover shows its mechanical arm hard at work.

Trapped in the darkness for months, Opportunity was covered with grit and dust. NASA scientists hoped this layer would clear once the windy season came.

According to The New York Times, Opportunity had previously stood strong during storms. In 2014, it even survived after two months of being covered with red dust.

However this time, this was not to be. Once the sky cleared, the team back at NASA still didn’t hear anything from the rover, and it was believed the internal clock had become too badly scrambled to function.

In a desperate bid to reconnect with Opportunity, flight controllers reportedly tried over one thousand times to send recovery commands, but to no avail.

As reported by ABC 7 Chicago, NASA tried each day to wake up Opportunity with songs such as Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, and Wham!’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

NASA team members were reportedly left in tears as they tried one last wake-up track: Billie Holiday’s poignant love song I’ll Be Seeing You.

The news of Opportunity’s downfall was broken at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, by head of NASA’s science missions, Thomas Zurbuchen.

Science journalist Jacob Margolis reported on Twitter, the final heartbreaking message Opportunity sent back to NASA:

My battery is low and it’s getting dark.

As last words go, this is a tear-jerker. And many of Opportunity’s human colleagues back on Earth have been deeply affected by the loss of the plucky rover.

Project manager John Callas said:

This is a hard day.

Even though it’s a machine and we’re saying goodbye, it’s still very hard and very poignant, but we had to do that. We came to that point.

Rest in peace, Opportunity. You have more than done your team proud.

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