Before his circuits became cold in the shadow of a meteoric storm, Opportunity considered the environment long and saved it for posterity.
The picture represents a poignant conclusion to the rover's mission; a detailed panorama that combines the latest traces of his marathon ride with a view of the sand that it would never touch.
Forget the science for a moment. Look at this.
The opportunity should not last as long as it did after only 90 days 15 years rolled over the sandy beaches of Mars and rolled snapshots like a tourist who had forgotten his retirement.
The 360 degree image was taken last year from the Rover's final resting place. In 29 days, Opportunity recorded its environment in a series of 354 individual snapshots before sending them back to NASA for compilation.
While most of them offer a colorful view of the landscape, the handful of black-and-white blocks in the corner are picked up with fading energy, denying Opportunity the time it needed to turn the last part of the scene into green – and to capture violet tones.
says John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"To the right of the center you can see the edge of the Endeavor crater rising in the distance, to the left of which the Rover's tracks begin their descent from the horizon and weave themselves down to geological features that our scientists examine at close range
"And right and left are the end of the Perseverance Valley and the bottom of Endeavor an untouched and unexplored crater waiting to be visited by future explorers.
Anyone who – or whatever – will be these future explorers is yet to be seen.
One day, no doubt, a future human or robotic space traveler will meet with the old rover and possibly even find a way to
Until then, the picture will go down in history with other famous snapshots of space exploration that serve as a glimpse of another world.