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Opportunity sent back one last impressive Mars panorama before it went offline forever



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The opportunity rover has gone to a better place – Mars. Then, about 15 years after reaching Mars, it finally stopped in the midst of a planetary dust storm. Before the brave little rover went on, he beamed one last gift back to the humans on Earth: an impressive panorama of the Perseverance Valley.

The chance went to the Perseverance Valley shortly before the end of the Mars run. The rover would last only a few months on the red planet, but more than 4,000 days later rolled into the Perseverance Valley. NASA wanted to explore the western edge of Endeavor crater, but Opportunity has not completed this mission.

The massive dust storm covered the Rover in June 2019 and blocked the light from its solar panels. NASA got only one ping from the robot after it went into sleep mode. All future contact attempts with Opportunity were filled with silence. Shortly before the dust storm Opportunity began to take pictures, which would serve as a final resting place. The above panorama consists of 354 individual images taken between the 13th of May and the 10th of June.

Dead center of the panorama is the path that Opportunity took when he entered the Perseverance Valley. On the right you can see some rover tracks and a small hill on the edge of the crater rim. On the left side of the panorama some rock formations can be seen.

NASA has a zoomable version of the full screen (above and click on the full screen icon in the top right corner) if you want to have a closer look at the details. The images come from three different filters of the rover's Pancam unit: 753 nanometers (near infrared), 535 nanometers (green), and 432 nanometers (purple). You may notice that some of the images in the lower left are monochrome. That's because the rover did not have enough time to capture green and purple views of this area before the dust storm darkened the sun.

What you are looking at is the final resting place of Opportunity. It's gone, but do not forget. NASA's Curiosity Rover built on Opportunity's success and survived the dust storm thanks to its thermal-thermal power source. NASA's next Mars rover (currently known as Mars 2020 only) will use a similar design with new instruments aimed at finding signs of life on the red planet. We can only hope that it will be as successful as Opportunity.

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