The Opportunity Rover has Finally Reached the End of the Road

Image courtesy of NASA

Image courtesy of NASA

James McAnelly, Reporter

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On January 25th, 2004, the rover named Opportunity was sent on a 90-day mission to Mars. The rover kept going for 15 years. On February 13th, 2019, the rover shut down. This was caused by a massive dust storm on Mars that went right over Opportunity. The rover’s solar panels were covered in dust and it couldn’t recharge its batteries. In fact, the rover had sent one last message to Nasa before it finally “died.” This message read, “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” NASA said goodbye by sending up the rovers final wake up song from Billie Holiday, “I’ll be seeing you.”
But the Opportunity rover wasn’t the only rover that landed on Mars that day. Its twin rover named Spirit also landed with Opportunity. This rover also was only supposed to be a 90-day mission, but it to, went past it’s intended time. But unfortunately, Spirit stopped communicating with earth on March 22, 2010, also due to a sandstorm, except this rover was completely submerged in a sand dune.
Opportunity had uncovered so many mysteries on Mars, including whether or not there was water on Mars. But that’s not the only thing the rover did, Opportunity had a huge impact on people. People were impressed by its success, but also sad that has stopped working. “The rover lasting so long shows how surprising engineering is,” said Spencer Waechtler, a student in the rocketry club at YCHS. “Going from 90 days to 14 years is another example of the impressive ability of NASA scientists to over-engineer their devices,” said Brittany Hartmann, a science and rocketry teacher here at YCHS.
NASA is still trying to figure out a way to reach the rover. But we can learn a thing or two from the rover lasting so long. “I think this will help us learn more about potential travel to Mars in the future. I am excited to see where NASA takes this information in the future,” said Hartmann. NASA could use this information to send another Nasa rover up, or some way to revive Opportunity, or they could find a way to dig out Spirit.