Mars Opportunity Rover Mission is Complete

Mars Opportunity Rover Mission is Complete

United States space agency NASA is to hold a briefing today at UK time 7 pm, in which it is to officially announce the Mars Opportunity Rover mission "dead".

Despite NASA engineers' best efforts to get a response via radio channels, its last communication was on June 10, 2018 after more than 600 attempts since August.

This evening, Nasa will make one last attempt to communicate with Opportunity, before revealing its findings at a press conference starting at 6pm United Kingdom time tomorrow.

As for Opportunity, "It has given us a larger world", Callas said.

NASA has finally plugged the plug on its Mars Opportunity rover, which has been silent on the Red Planet's surface for eight months. However, scientists were still unable to talk to the vehicle. Opportunity, also known as MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover) or Oppy, launched on July 7, 2003, traveling through space until it landed on Mars on January 25, 2004.

The golf cart sized rovers were created to operate as geologists for just three months, after bouncing onto our planetary neighbour inside cushioning air bags in January 2004.

The golf cart-size Opportunity outlived its twin, the Spirit rover, by several years. Besides endurance, the six-wheeled rover set a roaming record of 28 miles.

"This is a celebration of so many achievements", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, during Wednesday's press conference at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Contact with Opportunity was lost during the fiercest Martian dust storm in decades.

The program has had an extraordinary record of success: 28.1 miles (45.2 kilometers) traversed, more than the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 moon rover during the 1970s and more than the rover that U.S. astronauts took to the moon on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The storm was so intense that it darkened the sky for months, preventing sunlight from reaching the rover's solar panels.

The rovers' greatest gift, according to Professor Squyres, was providing a geologic record at two distinct places where water once flowed on Mars, and describing the conditions there that may have supported possible ancient life.

The swirling maelstrom may have dumped dust onto the solar panels which power the rover, meaning it can not recharge its battery to make contact with mission control back on Earth.

In November 2018 NASA announced that it has selected the location where its Mars 2020 rover will land on the Red Planet.

Today, only a single rover is still active on Mars, Curiosity, which arrived in 2012.

Fox News' Chris Ciaccia, Samuel Chamberlain and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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