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This is Opportunity’s Last 360 Panorama Image of Mars, and it Reveals Fascinating Features

After exploring the surface of the red planet for 15 years, NASA lost contact with the Opportunity Rover in June 0f 2018, after a massive dust storm swept across the red planet, most likely leaving the rover without the ability to recharge its batteries.

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Final communication from the rover was received on June 10.

Image Credit: NASA.
Image Credit: NASA.

For nearly a year, NASA scientists attempted to wake the rover up, but Opportunity did not answer back, and NASA decided to retire it.

But the Rover went out with a bang.

Before losing contact, it snapped a stunning image of the Martian landscape.

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The mind-bending 360-degree panorama shows what the Opportunity Rover observed at its final position in Perseverance Valley.

The stunning panorama photograph offers observers a view of the rim of the Endeavour Crater in the distance, as well as the rover’s tracks as it made its way across the Martian landscape. Far to the right and left we see the bottom of Perseverance Valley.

The image, recently revealed by NASA is made of 354 individual images, which Opportunity photographed from May 13th to June 10th.

Opportunity Legacy Pan (True Color). Image Credit: NASA.
Opportunity Legacy Pan (True Color). Image Credit: NASA.

“This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“To the right of center, you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance. Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close.”

Image Credit: NASA.
Image Credit: NASA.

“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.”

The Opportunity Rover was launched on July 7, 2003, as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Program.

Collectively, the Opportunity and Spirit rovers were part of the Mars Exploration Rover program in the long-term Mars Exploration Program.

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Opportunity landed successfully on Mars’ Meridiani Planum plain near its equator on January 25, 2004.

The rover outperformed admirably. Oppy, as the rover has been nicknamed’ was only expected to work on Mars for 90 days. However, it surpassed all expectations and explored Mars for 15 years.