Mars Rover ‘Oppy’ Has Died


The Mars Rover, Opportunity, or ‘Oppy’ for short, has died after 15 years.

Oppy was last heard from in June of last year before a global dust storm on Mars. Project manager John Callas said that they had tried to contact it during the past 8 months and “listened every single day with sensitive receivers, and we sent over 1,000 recovery commands.” After not hearing from Oppy, they have decided to say goodbye to Oppy and the mission.

Oppy was sent to Mars in 2004 with her twin, Spirit. NASA expected them to live for about 90 days and explore around 1km of Mars.

Instead, both Spirit and Oppy surprised everyone. Spirit lived for 6 years and explored around 8km of Mars.

Oppy lived for almost 15 years and logged 45km (that’s about 28 miles!) of Mars; a record for a vehicle off Earth.

Additionally, Oppy was extremely significant to science, discovering many places that showed signs of once holding water. Some of the clay and rocks found near the potential water sources were tested and found to once contain neutral water, which is essentially drinkable water.

The Mars mission continues on with the rover Curiosity who has been on Mars since 2012. And NASA has further plans to send up a near-twin of Curiosity in February of 2021, and will then be joined by another rover from Europe.

Oppy has made discoveries that will continue to fuel Mars missions for years to come.