NASA has officially declared an end to the mission of the six-wheeled rover on Mars. Opportunity lost power in a dust storm last June, and all efforts to make contact have failed.
“Our beloved Opportunity remained silent,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said Wednesday at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “With a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude,” he added, “I declare the Opportunity mission as complete.”
The plucky robot operated on the red planet for more than 14 years — an astonishing achievement, given that the mission was technically supposed to last only 90 days. The rover drove more than 25 miles, returned thousands of pictures and changed the way scientists think about Mars.