Death of Oppy, the Mars Rover

On Feb. 13, 2019, NASA announced that their Mars Rover Opportunity, had officially died due to a system failure caused by a planetwide dust storm around June 2018. Opportunity, nicknamed Oppy, landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, and was originally supposed to only last 90 Martian days. However, it remained active for 15 years sending vital information about the planet and revealing unexplored Martian landscapes. After the storm, the research team in charge of the Rover, led by Opportunity’s project manager, John Callas, attempted to contact Oppy for 8 months but to no avail.

On Tuesday February 12, a last attempt to contact Oppy was made before NASA gave up on contacting it and declared it dead the next day. In the words of Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, “For more than a decade, Opportunity has been an icon in the field of planetary exploration.” On Twitter, Jacob Margolis, a scientific reporter, declared that scientists at NASA translated Oppy’s final message to be “My battery is low and it’s getting dark” before its demise. Oppy will remain in the hearts of many.

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