Things to Know About NASA’s Opportunity Rover

After 15 decades, the mission of NASA’s Opportunity rover has come to a finish, but its successes around Mars have made it a place at the robot hall of fame. Here Is What you Want to know about our intrepid Martian overachiever:

1. Opportunity was double-sided.

The Mars Exploration Rovers mission comprised just two indistinguishable, golf-cart-sized, solar-powered rovers: Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit landed at Gusev Crater on Jan. 4, 2004. Opportunity landed on the other side of Mars at Meridiani Planum on Jan. 24, 2004, PST (Jan. 25 EST). The two rovers were managed for NASA from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena, California.

2. Opportunity and Spirit revealed that Mars had moist and hot conditions in its early past which were possibly hospitable to life.

Foremost one of Spirit and Opportunity’s many science discoveries: Mars was probably wetter and warmer previously. These conditions might have functioned as a cradle for life on Mars in some time when life emerged on Earth.

Opportunity contributed several important findings to this decision. This was the first rover to recognize and describe sedimentary stones on a world other than Earth. Opportunity’s measurements revealed these stones formed in early ephemeral playas. The opportunity also found little spheres of hematite known as”blueberries” that shaped late from climbing, acidic groundwater. After Opportunity reached the rim of Endeavour crater, the rover discovered white veins of the mineral gypsum — a telltale indication of water that traveled via underground cracks. The opportunity also found more persuasive indications of Mars’ watery past in the stones of Endeavour Crater: clay minerals which formed from neutral-pH (not overly acidic, not too basic) water. Of all of the areas studied by Opportunity, the environment at Endeavour had the most bizarre requirements for early microbial life.

3. Opportunity is an off-world file holder.

Opportunity worked more about the surface of Mars than any other robot for more than 14 decades. This far surpassed the initial 90-day mission intended for Opportunity and Spirit.

Throughout Opportunity’s period on Mars, also, it drove a total of 28.06 kilometers (45.16 km ), clinching the record for the longest drive on a different planet in 2014.

4. Opportunity was the little rover that would.

The opportunity did not endure for over 14 years since its mission was simple. It struck challenges that demanded its engineers to become resourceful. As an example, the rover’s right-front wheel occasionally drew more present than the wheels, therefore engineers frequently drove the rover backward to expand the perfect front wheel’s lifetime.

The terrain was treacherous. Following the rover landed at Eagle Crater, its wheels slipped on the slopes when it tried to drive out of the crater. Rover planners needed to think of creative driving approaches to escape — something that they did again in Endurance Crater, where slopes were too high as 31 degrees. On April 26, 2005, Opportunity’s wheels dug to a tender, wind-sculpted sand ripple and got stuck for a few fourteen days in”Purgatory Dune.” However, after extensive testing at a Mars-like sandbox in JPL, the group managed to cautiously shimmy from this Martian sand trap.

Opportunity struck two mission-threatening dust storms which blocked sunlight from hitting its own solar panels. It endured a dust storm in 2007 by decreasing activities and preserving enough power in its own batteries to recuperate when the skies cleared. Sad to say, the 2018 dust storm blotted out much more sun and maintained the heavens above Opportunity dark around a month more.

5. Opportunity and Spirit showed us the wonder of Mars.

Opportunity and Spirit were enthusiastic documentarians, providing us a human-scale perspective of what it had been like to be on Mars. They returned 342,000 raw pictures, which were immediately posted online for everyone’s pleasure. Both of these rovers also generated 31 magnificent 360-degree color panoramas.


The most memorable pictures Opportunity took — such as ripples of sand which resembled waves, stains of jumbled stone on a crater rim, turning dust devils and its tracks as well as a form — shown the otherworldly splendor of Mars along with the play of exploration.

6. The narrative of Opportunity and Spirit isn’t over. Their courses live on in future and current Mars missions.

The achievement of the Mars Exploration Rovers helped induce the development of NASA’s Mars program, developing services for orbiters and new sorts of rovers. Spirit and Opportunity revealed how cellular robots on Mars can communicate faithfully using Earth (either directly or by using orbiters around Mars as relays back to our homeworld ), utilize 3-D eyesight to browse the Martian terrain, and create autonomous science observations.

Curiosity and the approaching Mars 2020 rovers build upon the course of Spirit and Opportunity. And scientists will continue to make discoveries from the Mars Exploration Rovers information for a long time to come.

Spirit and Opportunity are a fertile training ground for many countless engineers and planetary scientists that have discovered at their autonomous knees. Some have gone on to direct other space assignments. Many of the currently working Opportunities are discussing their experience part-time with different assignments exploring our solar system. For many, working on Spirit and Opportunity has been transformative.