- Awareness in space.
NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Mars rover opportunity- objectives, achievements and significance.
Context: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Mars Mission, Opportunity has come to an end.
This marked the conclusion of the 15-year saga. The decision to end the mission was made after all the efforts to restore contact with the Opportunity Mars rover didn’t yield desired results.
Why the NASA lost the contact with Opportunity?
A historic global dust storm reached the location of the Opportunity rover on Mars. The storm darkened the skies and cut off of the rover’s solar power. All the efforts of NASA to restore the rover did not yield positive results.
Things worsened with the onset of the winter at the location of the Opportunity rover. The reduced sunlight and colder temperatures during winter made it unlikely for the recovery of the Opportunity rover.
About the Mission:
Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars in January 2004.
It landed 90 days after its twin rover Spirit landed. Spirit landed at Gusev Crater and Opportunity landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridiani Planum.
- NASA expected 90-day lifetimes for the rovers. Both Opportunity and Spirit far exceeded their expected lifetime.
- Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after travelling eight kilometres and Opportunity had logged 45 kilometres before losing contact in June 2018.