NASA releases the final panorama that Opportunity took on Mars

James Marshall
March 13, 2019

Comprised of 354 individual images captured between May 13 and June 10 of a year ago, the panorama has been stitched together to highlight Perseverance Valley, a system of shallow troughs on the inner slope of the western rim of the Endurance Crater. It's a panorama of Mars' Perseverance Valley, where Opportunity spent plenty of time and ultimately perished.

These two thumbnails, with the faint sun near the middle of each, are the last images NASA's Opportunity rover took on Mars as a dust storm darkened the sky. In the immediate foreground just left of center you can see a rocky outcrop that the vehicle had been investigating using its robotic arm in its final days. NASA tried gamely to revive the long-lived Oppy but had no luck, finally declaring the rover dead last month.

The color panorama was built via a sequence of 354 images snapped by the rover's Panoramic Camera between May 13 and June 10, 2018.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery", Opportunity project manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement Tuesday (March 12). However, it is still delivering pieces of information back to NASA's headquarters.

'Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater.

Opportunity's scientific discoveries have enable a greater understanding into the planet's geology and environment.

Over the next months after that, the agency made more than thousand attempts to contact the rover.

In February, NASA announced that its pioneering Opportunity rover had died after almost 15 years of exploring the Martian surface, marking the end of a mission which has significantly broadened our understanding of the Red Planet.

This week, the space agency released the final 360-degree panorama snapped by the rover.

Opportunity first landed on Mars in January 2004, within weeks of fellow probe Spirit.

It survived a bad dust storm in 2007 and is now being closely watched to see if it can survive a massive storm that has an estimated opacity level of 10.8, a sharp increase from the earlier storm's 5.5 tau.

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