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What Will Happen to the Mars Rover Opportunity's Remains?
Launched in 2003, Opportunity was sent to Mars to look for ancient water, and during its almost 15-year mission, the rover traversed more than 28 miles of the red planet's surface. The rover provided a litany of new scientific discoveries, including evidence that ancient water capable of supporting microbial life had existed on Mars long ago.
Ultimately, Opportunity fell victim to a planet-wide dust storm that forced the little rover to hunker down in Perseverance Valley, where it still sits today. Despite sending more than a thousand recovery commands to try and revive Opportunity, the rover never responded. With its mission officially over and its power gone, what will happen to the little rover?
According to Jeff Moersch of the Opportunity team, any of the rover’s exposed pieces of plastic will likely decay, but otherwise, the rover should stay relatively intact for quite some time. Dust was blamed for draining Opportunity's power supply, and it'll probably coat the rover for the foreseeable future. Still, he doesn't think the lost robot will become fully buried anytime soon.