Saying goodbye to America’s favorite rover

Karina Benjamin, Staff Writer

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“My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” That was the last transmission of the Opportunity Mars rover nicknamed Oppy. The final transmission came back in June of 2018 during a huge dust storm, they continued trying to make contact with Oppy and made their final attempt on February 12th bringing the 15-year mission to an end. The Opportunity rover was designed to survive 90 days and travel about 1,100 yards. By the end of its 15-year mission, it traveled more than 28 miles.


Opportunity paved the way for more missions to Mars, including the Curiosity rover and the Future Mars 2020 rover. The Opportunity rover and its partner rover Spirit both found evidence that water existed on the planet as well as evidence that habitable conditions existed on the planet.


The rovers landed on opposite sides of Mars in places where water might have existed. They took hundreds of thousands of pictures of Mars landscape as well as microscopic images of the rocks and soil. They made it possible to put together the past of Mars, they found that Mars used to be characterized by impacts, explosive volcanism, and subsurface water. Opportunity also broke the record for extraterrestrial travel.

Even though Opportunity was never supposed to function for this long, many people feel bittersweet about the mission coming to an end. There have been posts about Oppy all over Instagram and other social media websites. Michael Watkins, director of JPL said in a news article on NASA’s website “I cannot think of a more appropriate place for Opportunity to endure on the surface of Mars than one called Perseverance Valley. The records, discoveries and sheer tenacity of this intrepid little rover is a testament to the ingenuity, dedication, and perseverance of the people who built and guided her.”


The Opportunity rover was a huge jump in space discovery, even with the mission coming to an end, Oppy will continue to shape the future of space exploration.

WikiImages on Pixabay
An artists rendition of the Opportunity rover.