NEWS
13/02/2019 19:23 GMT | Updated 13/02/2019 19:41 GMT

Opportunity, Nasa's Longest-Running Mars Rover, Is Officially Dead

"Oppy outlived its mission lifetime by 14+ years."

Nasa’s longest-running rover on Mars, Opportunity, has been pronounced dead, 15 years after it landed on the red planet.

The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate for just three months but kept going and going until it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm eight months ago.

Flight controllers made numerous attempts to contact it and sent one final series of recovery commands on Tuesday night, accompanied by one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You.

There was no response, only silence.

Remarkably agile until communication ended last June, Opportunity roamed a record 28 miles around Mars.

Opportunity and its long-dead twin rover, Spirit, found evidence that ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.

NASA/Science Source via Getty Images
A false-colour image of the Mars landscape captured by Opportunity.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though – part of the robots’ programming involved spinning in tight circles to test nearby terrain and find new routes.

Humorously, depending on your age perhaps, that had the unfortunate consequence of drawing a certain shape on the surface, which when discovered by Reddit essentially crashed Nasa’s website.

 

Nasa