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NASA's InSight lander to place heat flow probe on Mars

14 February 2019

By February 6, NASA reported that more than 835 recovery commands had been sent to the rover over a span of frequencies, including those outside its normal communications range.

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in this dramatically lit view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars. "So that really confirmed one of these big questions about Mars' past".

Opportunity was the fifth of eight NASA space vehicles that have successfully landed on Mars.

Nasa's Opportunity on Mars was to search for clues about the history of water. The six-wheeled vehicle's death is being attributed to a severe dust storm, according to the Associated Press. They rocketed from Cape Canaveral a month apart in 2003.

Spirit and Opportunity moved, of course, over surprising spans of time and space.

"When Opportunity landed back in 2004, I was actually in high school", said MER deputy project scientist Abigail Fraeman, "I was a high school junior, but I had the awesome opportunity to come to JPL and actually be here when the rovers landed".

"It gives you an idea just how long this mission has lasted", she said. "Also, if you had the opportunity to bring 180 kilograms of stuff back from the surface of Mars, the last thing I'd want to bring is something where I know exactly what it's made of". Like its sister craft, Spirit outperformed its intended 90-day mission, returning science for almost six years before becoming permanently stuck by a rock.

NASA is expected to share its update on the final effort to recover Opportunity shortly after they attempt to make contact again, as Oppy's fans around the world cross their fingers and look up to the skies in the hopes the rover will finally phone home again. Due to the bot's silent state, NASA is cutting ties with Opportunity and ending it's 15-year Mars mission.

"You could have lost a lot of money over the years betting against Opportunity", said the professor.

FILE PHOTO: A self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, a combination of multiple frames taken by Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) during March 22 through March 24, 2014 on planet Mars is seen in this NASA/JPL-Caltech image released on April 17, 2014. Opportunity spent several days at the summit making pictures that engineers will stitch into a color panorama.

NASA is preparing to say goodbye to their beloved Mars rover Opportunity, which appears to have reached the end of its long exploratory life on the red planet.

The last communication from the rover was received 10 June. Callas said a heater in the rover's robotic arm got stuck on shortly after landing, depleting the rover's batteries during the night.

A new rover, named InSight, has already arrived on the planet to continue the rover's legacy.

We have a tendency to get attached to the spacecraft we send out, not because we care so much about the hardware itself but because they represent large teams of hard-working individuals pushing human knowledge to places it's never been before.

He also said it was decked out with the "finest batteries in the solar system", capable of getting through 5,000 charge and discharge cycles "to get through the coldest, darkest parts of Mars".

NASA's InSight lander to place heat flow probe on Mars