Opportunity Mars rover – artist conception

Opportunity Mars rover - artist conception

This artist conception portrays Opportunity on the surface of Mars.

Opportunity was launched on July 7, 2003, 28 days after its twin, Spirit, which launched on June 10, 2003, as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover program.

It landed in Meridiani Planum, a plain located 2 degrees south of Mars’s equator on January 25, 2004, three weeks after Spirit touched down on the other side of the planet.

Both rovers had a planned 90-sol (Martian day) duration of activity (slightly more than 90 earth days). Spirit functioned until getting stuck in 2009 and ceased communications in 2010, while Opportunity was able to stay operational for 5353 sols after landing.

By June 10, 2018, when it last contacted NASA and sent it last photo (the image in the right-hand-side above) to Earth, which shows the intensity of the dust storm, Opportunity had traveled a distance of 45.16 kilometers (28.06 miles) and exceeded its operating plan by 14 years, 295 days (in Earth Time), 55 times its designed lifespan.

Image source: Wikipedia

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