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Home / Science / It's Been Exactly One Year Since Opportunity Sent This Final Message Home – On It's 5,111th Martian Day

It's Been Exactly One Year Since Opportunity Sent This Final Message Home – On It's 5,111th Martian Day



Opportunity's final message home is not much to look at on its own. If you're old enough to remember film cameras, it looks like the final exposure on a roll of film, but still missing. It's a suitable epitaph for Opportunity's mission.

Opportunity captured this image with the PanCam, or Panoramic Camera. The rover has the solar filter at the time, which is why the image is so dark.

It bears similarity to Opportunity's first image from Mars, so taken with the left Panoramic Camera.

 Opportunity's first image from Mars on Sol 1 at 15:30:50 Mars time. Captured with the Left Panoramic Camera. Image Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell
Opportunity's first image from Mars on Sol 1 at 15:30:50 Mars time. Captured with the Left Panoramic Camera. Image Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell

Martian Sol, in the Perseverance Valley. It was captured at about 9:30 a.m. PDT (12:30 pm EDT) on June 10, 2018, one year ago today. It's the image of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at 9:45, then on to Earth. It arrived here at about 10:05 a.m. PDT (1:05 ​​p.m. EDT), where it was received by NASA's Deep Space Network.

 NASA's Deep Space Network is responsible for communicating with Juno as it explores Jupiter. Pictured is the Goldstone facility in California, one of three facilities that make up the network. Image: NASA / JPL
NASA's Deep Space Network is responsible for communicating with spacecraft. Pictured is the Goldstone facility in California, one of three facilities that make up the network. Image: NASA / JPL

The image is dark because the Sun is blanked out by the global dust storm that envelops Mars at the time. The graininess is camera noise. The black area at the bottom represents the data that was never received. Opportunity's before it could send the rest.

Opportunity's final image before the global dust storm ended the rover's mission on Mars. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

It's not the final image from Opportunity, but it's the final full-frame image. The rover sent thumb-nails from other images, but none of the full images were sent before.

 Two thumbnails from Opportunity's final images. The Sun is a tiny dot. They were taken to estimate the opacity of the atmosphere during the global dust storm. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU
Two thumbnails from Opportunity's final images. The Sun is a tiny dot. They were taken to estimate the opacity of the atmosphere during the global dust storm. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

Over the course of its mission on Mars, Opportunity took over 228,000 images. You can see them all at NASA's Opportunity: All 228,771 Raw Images. That's an un-curated collection though.

 Opportunity's final image from the surface of Mars is this panorama of Endeavor Crater. Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU
Opportunity's final panorama image from the surface of Mars is from Endeavor Crater. Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

For a curated gallery, visit Mars Exploration Rover Images.

To browse a collection of panoramas, visit Mars Exploration Rovers Panoramas.

RIP Opportunity. Gone but not forgotten.

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