NASA’s Opportunity rover is dead, but its final images live on in the form of a beautiful 360-degree panorama. The space agency shared this final image today, explaining that it features Perseverance Valley, which is the inside slope of the Endurance Crater and the spot where Opportunity fell silent. The images composing the panorama were taken over the course of 29 days.
The Opportunity rover spent nearly 15 years rolling around Mars, collecting data for researchers on Earth. The mission came to an end last summer when Opportunity became trapped in what eventually became a global dust storm on Mars. The dust blotted out the Sun and prevented Opportunity’s solar panels from functioning.
NASA spent months attempting to contact Opportunity after conditions cleared and sunlight was able to reach the rover. After more than half a year of silence and more than one thousand attempts at making contact, however, the space agency eventually declared Opportunity’s mission over on February 13, 2019.
The panorama features images captured with Opportunity’s Pancam instrument from May 13, 2018, to June 10, 2018. NASA adjusted the panorama’s color to present the closest approximation of the scene’s real-life color. Visible in the image is the Endeavor Crater’s rim, the rover’s tracks, and unexplored regions on Mars’ landscape.
Talking about the panorama is NASA JPL’s Opportunity project manager John Callas, who said:
This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery. To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance. Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.