WASHINGTON: During 14 years of intrepid exploration across Mars, it advanced human knowledge by confirming that water once flowed on the red planet—but NASA’s Opportunity rover has analyzed its last soil sample, reports AFP.
The robot has been missing since the US space agency lost contact during a dust storm in June last year and was declared officially dead Wednesday, ending one of the most fruitful missions in the history of space exploration.Unable to recharge its batteries, Opportunity left hundreds of messages from Earth unanswered over the months, and NASA said it made its last attempt at contact Tuesday evening.
“I declare the Opportunity mission as complete,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate told a news conference at mission headquarters in Pasadena, California.
The community of researchers and engineers involved in the program were in mourning over the passing of the rover, known affectionately as Oppy.
“It is a hard day,” said John Callas, manager of the Mars Exploration Rover project.