Mars Opportunity Rover's Parting Shot Was a Beautiful Panorama

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

NASA's Opportunity rover is dead, but its final images live on in the form of a lovely 360-degree panorama.

In a new post, NASA reveals what it says is the final "parting shot" that Opportunity captured before the dust storm killed it.

The panorama was created from 354 individual images taken over a 29-day period last spring using three different filters on the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam.) Several features of the surrounding area can be seen, as well as some tracks that the rover left before it came to its final resting place.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement describing the image. This latest panorama is like a greatest hits of the Red Planet, containing Mars' signature reddish rocks, the rim of Endeavour Crater, pieces of Opportunity itself, and views of its tracks. This magnificent panorama befits its excellent run as a source of data about the red planet.

Opportunity, along with its partner, Spirit, launched in 2003 as part of the Mars Exploration Rover program to study Mars' surface.

'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'.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama
This is the last gorgeous Mars panorama that Opportunity captured before it died

NASA sent more than 1,000 commands to Opportunity in an attempt to reestablish connection following a planetary dust storm in 2018 but was unsuccessful suggesting the rover either encountered a catastrophic failure or had its solar panels covered by dust.

The individual pictures where taken one by one between May 13 and June 10 or Martian Sols 5,084 through 5,111.

The trailblazing rover missions may be over but NASA said Opportunity's legacy "will live on". They found a great deal of such evidence, confirming that the Red Planet was much wetter, and potentially habitable, in the ancient past.

Its scientific discoveries contributed to an advanced understanding of the planet's geology and environment, setting foundations for future robotic and human missions to the harsh environment of Mars.

Opportunity was only supposed to stay on Mars for 90 days, but has now lasted an astounding 14 years.

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