Mars rover Opportunity - Mission status: Complete

IceBone

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The rover Opportunity took off from 7th July 2003 and landed on Mars' Meridiani Planum on 25th January 2004. Its original mission was not to last any longer than 90 days, but 14 and a half years later, the little rover was still going strong, doing science like a champ.


After an immense planet-wide dust storm in June 2018, NASA lost contact with the rover. Many attempts to contact it and get it to respond followed, with the last, failed attempt happening on February 12th 2019, after which NASA concluded that the rover has been permanently lost.

Over the 14 and a half years, the mighty rover travelled over 45 km and performed too many experiments and discoveries to count in this post. I'll just add that it was exhilirating watching it tough it out against all odds for so long.


Mission status: Complete
 

GRtak

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The Rovers were champs. It is a sad day, but that is because they were so good.

Maybe the next rovers will have a small wind generator on them to provide power when the solar panels can't.
 

leviathan

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Maybe the next rovers will have a small wind generator on them to provide power when the solar panels can't.
Curiosity actually uses a RTG, it needs too much power for solar panels to be effective. The same is planned for the 2020 rover, and makes them both resistant to dust storms. However, over very long time the RTG will generate less power, putting an ultimate upper bound on mission duration. Though it is likely that some essential mechanics or electronics fail long before RTG output drops below useful levels.
 

CrzRsn

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Seeing as how future wind patters are unpredictable and there is still chance that the solar panels may be blown clean enough to generate power eventually, why not set up and automated process to send recovery commands once a week or so.
 

PelicanHazard

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An incredible mission that lasted 60 times longer than originally planned. Sad to see Opportunity meet its inevitable end.

Seeing as how future wind patters are unpredictable and there is still chance that the solar panels may be blown clean enough to generate power eventually, why not set up and automated process to send recovery commands once a week or so.
Because critical components required onboard heaters to survive Martian nights. With power knocked out, the heaters aren't working, so even if the panels get blown clear in the future, those components will be too damaged by the cold to restart.
 

GRtak

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The batteries have frozen by now, and will be all but useless. A wind generator may have prevented that, at least for a time.
 

CrzRsn

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Hmmm, I know Voyager uses thermoelectric generators for power way out in deep space. I guess that would've been overkill for such a short original mission duration to include on Opportunity.
 
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