Opportunity Rover’s Parting Shot Was a Beautiful Mars Panorama

Before going silent due to a huge dust storm on June 10, 2018, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity documented an amazing 360-degree panorama from multiple images taken at what would become its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. The Mars rover collected these images over the course of 29 days.

Opportunity Parting Mars Panorama
This image is a cropped version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, 2018. The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see. Incomplete image frames appear black and white. Color images taken with the rover’s Pancam are taken one color at a time requiring three images of the same subject to create full color. The rover did not have the time to photograph those locations using the green and blue filters before a severe Mars-wide dust storm swept in on June 2018. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU. This is a resized version. You can download the full-size image from the NASA Mars website.

The annotated version below includes additional information on features visible in the panorama.

Opportunity Parting Mars Panorama (annotated)
This annotated view is also presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see. This is a resized version. You can download the full-size image from the NASA Mars website.

This was Opportunity’s last “panorama”. Its last photo, due to a huge dust storm which ended the rover’s life, was a hazy picture of the Martian sky.

The rover entered hibernation mode on June 12, 2018, but it remained silent after the storm subsided in early October. After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity’s mission complete on February 13, 2019.

Honors and Records of Mars Opportunity Rover

Honoring Opportunity’s great contribution to the exploration of Mars, an asteroid was named Opportunity: 39382 Opportunity. The name was proposed by Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld who, along with Cornelis Johannes van Houten and Tom Gehrels, discovered the asteroid on September 24, 1960. Opportunity’s lander is Challenger Memorial Station.

On July 28, 2014, it was announced that Opportunity, having traversed over 40 kilometers (25 miles), had become the rover achieving the longest off-world distance, surpassing the previous record of 39 kilometers (24 miles) on the Moon by Lunokhod 2.

On March 24, 2015, NASA celebrated Opportunity having traveled the distance of a marathon race, 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles), from the start of Opportunity’s landing and traveling on Mars.

On Sol 3,894 (January 6, 2015), Opportunity reached the summit of “Cape Tribulation,” which is 443 feet (135 m) above “Botany Bay” level and the highest point yet reached by the rover on the western rim of Endeavour Crater according to NASA.

Sources

  • “Opportunity’s Parting Shot Was a Beautiful Panorama” on the NASA Mars website
  • “Opportunity Legacy Pan” on the NASA Mars website
  • Opportunity Rover on Wikipedia

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