NASA officially closed the Mars Rover Opportunity, eight months after the lander's last hearing. The space agency has been trying to contact the rover since communication got dark in 2018 after a heavy dust storm. After NASA issued more than 1,000 recovery orders, this week announced it would make one last attempt to contact the rover. NASA said it would officially declare Opportunity dead if there was no response on Wednesday, February 13th.
Unfortunately, this has proved to be the case – as many people have predicted. In a statement, NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen said, "I declare the opportunity mission complete and complete the Mars Exploration Rover mission."
In his speech with the Associated Press, project manager John Callas described this week's End of Opportunity. "It's like a loved one who has disappeared and you have the hope that they will show up and that they are healthy," he said. "But with every passing day that diminishes, and eventually you have to say" enough "and go on with your life."
That might sound melodramatic, but Opportunity was a very important rover in the history of Mars exploration. While there were several rovers (Curiosity and the InSight lander are still active), Opportunity was the longest lander of all. It started on July 7, 2003 and landed successfully on Mars on January 25 of the following year. In May 201
NASA last communicated with Opportunity on June 10, 2018 After swallowing the lander's solar panels, he choked on his internal clock. This may have exhausted the on-board batteries of the rover – although there is currently no definitive way to find out for sure.
Eventually, while it's sad to say goodbye, Opportunity is proud of NASA and Mars in general. Maybe one day Opportunity and Spirit can somehow be transported back to Earth for proper display treatment.