Spacecraft Opportunity is declared “dead” after over 14 years of exploration of Mars, NASA said.
The Opportunity abandoned its last life sign in June last year, just before a giant sandstorm blew up around it, the US space agency said.
After over eight hundred attempts to connect with the six-wheel drive, NASA made a final attempt on Tuesday. As neither did it lead to any result, the “message of death” was clear.
“I hereby declare the Opportunity mission ended,” said Thomas Zurbuchen at NASA at a press conference in Pasadena, California on Wednesday.
Shelves the vehicle
NASA leader Jim Bridenstine nonetheless calls the mission of “one of the most successful interplanetary exploration achievements”. The primary purpose of the vessel was to gather evidence around Mars on areas where good living conditions may have existed.
– The craft leaves an incredible legacy, says the leader.
“Oppy”, the nickname NASA staff used on the craft, landed on Mars in 2004. Since then, it has driven 45 kilometers around the red planet and taken 217,594 photos. Opportunity kept going 60 times longer than planned.
The research robot was scheduled to run only a few hundred meters, but since 2003 it has traveled 45 kilometers on the Mars surface. On the voyage it has found signs that once there was liquid water and conditions where microorganisms could live on the Mars surface.
NASA’s Mars exploration continues with Insight, which landed on the planet in November. In addition, Curiosity has spent six years on Mars to collect data from one of the planet’s craters.