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Opportunity, the machine that exceeded all expectations

The mars rover, Opportunity, is a rover that was designed for the purpose of exploring mars. It's 'death' was declared on 2/13/2019

Personally+one+of+the+best+pictures+by+Opportunity%2C+it+displays+the+path+that+it+has+already+left+it%27s+marks+on.
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Opportunity, the machine that exceeded all expectations

Personally one of the best pictures by Opportunity, it displays the path that it has already left it's marks on.

Personally one of the best pictures by Opportunity, it displays the path that it has already left it's marks on.

Personally one of the best pictures by Opportunity, it displays the path that it has already left it's marks on.

Personally one of the best pictures by Opportunity, it displays the path that it has already left it's marks on.

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Opportunity, also known as MER-B or MER-1, and nicknamed “Oppy,” is a robotic rover that was active on Mars for the purpose of traversing the Mars, also known as the Red Planet, in search of signs of past life. It’s mission was called the Opportunity Mission and was one of the many rovers that was sent to mars for the sake of exploring. It’s expected mission time was 92 Earth days, but it has exceeded all expectations and continued to function for a grand total of more than 14 years. It has done glorious work that left a mark on the study of mars.

The mission that included opportunity was started after the success of the Sojourner rover, the first rover to successfully explore mars. It was sent to Mars along with Spirit, a twin of Opportunity. Opportunity and Spirit was manufactured by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center in La Cañada Flintridge, California. Spirit was launched first on June 10, 2003, 1:58 PM EDT and Opportunity was launched a couple dozen days after Spirit’s launch on July 7, 2003, 11:18 PM EDT.

Scientists are pondering how to extend Opportunity’s life span by making a model of it down here on Earth .

Spirit, however, faced an unexpected sand trap. NASA spent weeks trying to help the rover get to safer ground, but couldn’t do anything to help the rover. Trapped, the rover eventually stopped transmitting information back to Earth on March 22, 2010 and was declared dead by NASA on January 15, 2004. George Harmis, a senior at Lafayette High school, said that “it was a shame that opportunity died because it really was a frontier in the exploration of Mars.”

The picture is a confirmation that Opportunity’s six wheels successfully rolled off the lander and onto martian soil at 3:01 a.m. PST, January 31, 2004, on the seventh martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Opportunity, however, survived on for an almost unbelievably long period of time even after it’s twin, the Spirit Mars rover, died. It survived on the Red Planet for more than 14 years, contributing to leave behind it’s discoveries to the people of Earth. Opportunity has traveled a total of 26.5 miles or 42.65 km, which is farther than any other robot has ever traveled on the surface of a world beyond Earth, on Mars  and took numerous pictures of the mysterious Red Planet.  It’s main mission was to see if Mars can sustain life by looking into factors. These factors included activities such as searching for and characterizing a variety of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity, search for iron-containing minerals, identify and quantify relative amounts of specific mineral types that contain water or were formed in water, such as iron-bearing carbonates, and many more.

This is what Opportunity looks like in Mars, peacefully operating by itself.

This little wonder of a machine succeeded in achieving what all the intelligent scientists in NASA predicted and continuing that miracle for more than a decade. It has become a symbol of scientific success and a favorite of the media from time to time. Not all miracles, however, last forever and  the downfall of this miracle started in the Mayof 2018. A Martian dust storm is the archenemy of any rovers in Mars because the dust and sand can cover the solar panels that power the rovers and if the panels are covered, the rover won’t be able to function and ‘die.’ Opportunity has survived Martian dust storm from prior dates, but the Martian dust storm of 2018 was too much for the little wonder machine to survive through. With it’s solar panels covered, it slowly lost it’s battery and stopped sending signals back to Earth on June 10, 2018.

This is a comparison of Spirit and Opportunity, twin rovers that went to Mars on the same year.

The final message of Opportunity was technical transmission of how it’s battery levels were low and that it was about to shut down soon was turned into a more poetic version of ‘my power is low and it’s getting dark,’ which was the message released to the public. Kristine Park, a junior at Warhill High School, said that ” It’s interesting that NASA created a more poetic form of Opportunity’s last words because it’s showing that NASA had an affection for Opportunity as well.”

This is one of the last photos by Opportunity that is currently released to the public on Sol 5111.

NASA, however, didn’t give up and continued to send signs and signals to Opportunity, trying to get a response. They never did in the end, and on February 13th of 2019, NASA declared the Opportunity mission to be complete. The Opportunity rover was active in mars for 5352 sols, which is the same as 5498 Earth days, which was 5262 more sols than expected. Sarah Piao, a freshman at VCU, said that “it’s amazing what little machines can achieve that humans can’t. It would have been impossible for humans to have survived so long in Mars, but this little machine did it!”

 

As the Opportunity mission was declared complete, many sent their farewells to the miracle rover on social media and by memes of the rover.

This is a classic meme that people made to remember and express their condolences of the passing of Opportunity.

 

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Opportunity, the machine that exceeded all expectations