NASA rover finally bites the dust on Mars after 15 years

This image made available by NASA shows the planet Mars. This composite photo was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s. Photo: NASA via AP, File
This image made available by NASA shows the planet Mars. This composite photo was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

February 13, 2019 01:14 PM

NASA's longest-running rover on Mars, Opportunity, has been pronounced dead, 15 years after it landed on the red planet.

The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate just three months. But it kept going and going until it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm eight months ago.

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RELATED: NASA about to pull plug on Mars rover, silent for 8 months

Flight controllers made numerous attempts to contact it and sent one final series of recovery commands Tuesday night, accompanied by one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You." There was no response, only silence.

Remarkably spry until communication ceased last June, Opportunity roamed a record 28 miles (45 kilometers) around Mars.

Opportunity and its long-dead twin rover, Spirit, found evidence that ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.

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Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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