NASA’s Opportunity rover provided one last stunning view of Mars before the space agency lost contact with it last year.
On its website, NASA shared a 360-degree panorama of the Red Planet created from 354 images NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took from May 13 to June 10, 2018. The panorama showed the view from Opportunity’s final resting place in Perseverance Valley, an area located on the inner slope of the western rim of Endurance Crater.
“This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,” Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
Callas also pointed out just how many fascinating areas Opportunity managed to capture during its final days.
“To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance,” he said. “Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.”
Check out the full panorama taken by the Mars Opportunity here.
The Opportunity rover arrived in Mars on Jan. 24, 2004, touching down in the Meridiani Planum region. It was only expected to last 90 days on Martian soil and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), but the lander surpassed all expectations and spent 15 years exploring the Red Planet.
NASA lost contact with Opportunity in June 2018 following a severe dust storm that affected the entire planet. The space agency received the rover’s last communication on June 10. After one last attempt at reaching Opportunity, NASA finally ended its mission on Feb. 13.
During its almost 15 years of exploration, Opportunity had multiple achievements, such as capturing over 217,000 images, discovering hematite and finding signs of ancient water at Endeavour Crater.
The Opportunity was accompanied by its twin rover, Spirit, for several years on Mars. Spirit arrived on Mars 20 days earlier, touching down on Gusev Crater on the other side of the Red Planet. However, the latter explored about 5 miles (8 kilometers) before its mission ended in May 2011.