RIP Oppy, The Greatest Martian That Ever Was
After 14 years of roving Mars, it's mission complete for the Opportunity rover.
Oppy's story is one of discovery and resilience, and one that will be remembered for decades to come.
The rover defied expectations from the minute it landed on the red planet in January 2004.
It was meant to be a 90-day mission but it turned in to a 5,515-day exploration.
Opportunity ultimately forever changed our understanding of the Martian landscape, geology, and atmosphere.
In its time on Mars Oppy set the roaming record, travelling an unprecedented 45 kilometres. It discovered ancient lake beds and evidence that water once flowed on the planet.
It sent 217,594 images back to earth.
Trouble struck when the planet was hit by a wild dust storm in June 2018. Oppy fell silent, unable to respond to close to 1,000 attempts of communication.
The last message received on Earth was a heartbreaking one: "my battery is low and it is getting dark."
NASA had no choice but to announce it's "death", a decision that has devastated the space community.
“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,” NASA’s Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
“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.”
Fittingly, its final resting spot lies on the western edge of the Endeavour crater, in a gully now dubbed Perseverance Valley.