Opportunity rover left us with one last lovely panorama of Mars

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

"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", he said. It shows a number of interesting features of Perseverance Valley, in addition to the pristine, unexplored floor of Endurance Crater. The rover lost touch with NASA in June after it reported the approaching storm that ultimately covered its solar panels with dust and rocks.

Although the panorama provides one last look of Opportunity's resting grounds, the rover's very last image tells a slightly bleaker tale. They found a great deal of such evidence, confirming that the Red Planet was much wetter, and potentially habitable, in the ancient past. The panorama is made up of 354 individual images, which Opportunity snapped from May 13th to June 10th.

A few frames of the panorama remain black-and-white, because the dust storm swept in before Opportunity could image those areas using all of its color filters, NASA officials said.

Opportunity was part of the Mars Exploration Rovers program that called for two identical machines to be sent to Mars.

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama

Its scientific discoveries contributed to an advanced understanding of the planet's geology and environment, setting foundations for future robotic and human missions to the harsh environment of Mars. For these images, the filters block out all light except for three wavelengths: 753 nanometres (near-infrared), 535 nanometres (green), and 432 nanometres (violet).

NASA spent months attempting to contact Opportunity after conditions cleared and sunlight was able to reach the rover.

The upcoming 2020 rover mission will for the first time seek signs of past microbial life on the planet, together with the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover.

Opportunity was only planned to last 90 days after landing on the Martian surface in January 2004, but it went on to surpass all expectations. If you combine these images by putting each one into the red, green, or blue colour channel, you can see an approximate true-colour image of what Mars looks like.

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