Nasa Rover Opportunity Declared Dead

Mars rover Opportunity is officially out of action


Aubrey Harrell, Editorial Board

Famed Nasa rover, Opportunity, was unfortunately confirmed dead on Feb 13. The rovers mission on Mars was initially supposed to last only ninety days, but actually ended up spanning fifteen years. Opportunity, nicknamed “Oppy” by scientists, definitely made its impact on the world, setting the record for off-earth driving distance at 45 kilometers. The rover became well known worldwide for its impressive journey at a time where in depth space exploration wasn’t as easy to do as it is now. Needless to say, the Mars rover “death” is a sad occasion, as well as a sign of changing times.


When Opportunity and its sister rover, Spirit, were launched in 2003, nobody knew if their missions would be a success. Previous attempts by NASA to land a rover successfully on Mars had ended in disaster, with there being two failed missions before Opportunity and Spirit’s launch. With bated breath, NASA awaited the two rovers arrival on Mars and to everyone’s relief, it was a success. The two sibling rovers landed on opposite sides of the planet, which resulted in the two rovers coming across different environmental discoveries of the planet. Opportunity had more luck than Spirit, and upon landing it made the groundbreaking discovery of water on Mars. Opportunity and its sibling rover’s missions were declared a success, and the rovers continued to be active until their inevitable ends, Spirit in 2010 and Opportunity just recently in 2019 due to a fatal dust storm on the Red Planet.


Opportunity was a revolutionary advancement in space exploration, and through it we’ve answered previously unanswered questions about Mars and its composition. Although it’s a bit sad that the rover’s life has come to an end, this isn’t at all the end for Mars exploration. Currently, rover Curiosity (launched in 2011) is still stationed on Mars, tasked with the mission of assessing whether or not Mars’ environment is capable of supporting small life forms called microbes to discern the planets habitability. Although life moves on and there are more new scientific discoveries to be made with new technology, it’s important to remember the amazing discoveries Opportunity (and by extension its sibling rover, Spirit) have made in the past. Rest in Peace, Opportunity.