The Online Newspaper of Lakewood High School

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    Farewell to Opportunity


    MER-B was the rover sent to Mars back in 2003. It was launched on July 7, 2003, and landed on January 25, 2004. Opportunity was the little rover that could, marching on way longer than NASA had expected. Opportunity was meant to last only 90 Mars days, or 92 Earth days, but went on to explore for nearly 15 years.

    The last contact NASA had with the rover was June 10 of 2018. A severe global dust storm had blocked all sunlight from getting to the solar-powered robot.

    Opportunity, like other rovers such as Curiosity and Spirit, got its name from a naming contest. Both Opportunity and Spirit got their names from Sofi Collis, who wrote one of nearly 10,000 essays that were entered in this contest. Collis is an aspiring astronaut that one day hopes to explore space.

    The “twin rovers,” Opportunity and Spirit, were launched a few weeks apart. Spirit was launched on June 10, 2003 and landed on January 4, 2004.

    Both rovers were supposed to last only about three months, and both of them pushing forward to help us with our understanding of Mars. Spirit pushed on until the last contact was made on March 22, 2010.

    Opportunity managed to cover over 28 miles of ground as of September of 2018. Its mission end was declared on February 13, 2019 as there was still no response from the rover after eight months.

    “I think this is a good example of making sure you take the opportunity to make the most of a situation,” said Hannah Keyes.

    With it being the end of Opportunity’s mission, NASA has decided to stop issuing commands to the rover, the last ones being sent on February 12, a day before officially ending the mission.

    The last transmission sent from Opportunity on June 10 was, “My battery is low, and it’s getting dark.”

    More to Discover