NASA Releases A Beautiful Panorama Of Mars Taken By Opportunity

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

NASA hoped the robot would return to working order after the storm once sunlight could reach its solar panels, but it never responded. The 360-degree photo consists of many images that show the Martian soil and Opportunity's final resting place in Perseverance Valley.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", NASA's Opportunity project manager John Callas said in a statement.

"To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance", he said. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater.

Perseverance Valley sits on the inner slope of Endeavour Crater's western rim and is composed of shallow troughs stretching from the top of the rim to the bottom, approximately the length of two football fields. The panorama is made up of 354 individual images, which Opportunity snapped from May 13th to June 10th. The images composing the panorama were taken over the course of 29 days.

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. The mission of the rover was meant to extend into the interior of the Endeavor Crater, an area that has never been explored before. Opportunity's scientific discoveries contributed to our unprecedented understanding of the planet's geology and environment, laying the groundwork for future robotic and human missions to the Red Planet. It's best viewed in full resolution since the image is very wide, so check it out here.

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NASA explained that parts of the photo remained in black and white because Opportunity hadn't had enough time to record the locations using the green and violet filters before the dust storm engulfed the red planet, preventing the rover from charging its solar-powered batteries.

Efforts to re-establish contact with the silent Opportunity following the months-long 2018 dust storm were unsuccessful, leading NASA to end the mission in February 2019.

It landed on Mars' Meridiani Planum plain near its equator on January 25, 2004.

The upcoming 2020 rover mission will for the first time seek signs of past microbial life on the planet, together with the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover.

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.

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