15 years is not a long time on Earth; but for a robotic rover in the Meridiani Planum, a plain located near Mars’ equator, 15 years is record-breaking. Opportunity, the rover that heightened the world’s knowledge on Mars and its geography, has been confirmed to have blown up in a dust storm on Mars according to National Geographic. They also said that “Opportunity went further for longer than any other vehicle on another world— and all other Mars rovers combined.”
In an article by NASA, Opportunity was named through an essay contest, an essay written by an orphan girl that described her aspirations of going to America. Opportunity uncovered much about the liquid present on the Red Planet. National Geographic writes that it unfortunately did not survive a system failure from the dust storm that savaged Mars last summer.
Although many are struck by the failure, most of the reactions have been positive. Opportunity has become a journey that motivates future generations to discover more and to push further. It took a decade of proposals just for NASA to agree to it, and the builders were not even given sufficient time that they asked for. Emily Chen, a senior at Ramapo, exclaimed, “Wow, this is very interesting!” It has really served as an example that another rover like Opportunity is possible because it lasted more than 50 times longer than what was initially planned. According to Borneo Bulletin, “Roughly two-thirds of all missions destined for Mars had failed, often in expensive and embarrassing ways” so this is a tremendous accomplishment. In a National Geographic article, Mike Siebert, former driver of Opportunity stated, “I am looking forward to the future when Opportunity’s records fall, because that will mean that we continue to explore our solar system.”
By: Patricia Redulla, Distribution Manager
Featured Image: Left: Self-portrait taken in January 2014. Right: Self-portrait taken in March 2014 with significantly less dust from its solar arrays. (Photo Courtesy of NASA)