The Opportunity rover has gone to a better place – Mars. Then, about 15 years after reaching Mars, he finally stopped in the middle of a planetary dust storm. Before the brave little rover passed, he reported a last gift to the people of the Earth: an impressive panorama of Perseverance Valley.
Direct opportunity to Perseverance Valley towards the end of its Mars race. The rover had to last only a few months on the red planet, but rolled over to Perseverance Valley more than 4,000 Martian days later. NASA wanted to explore the western edge of the Endeavor crater, but Opportunity did not complete that mission.
The massive dust storm swallowed the rover in June 2019, blocking the light from its solar panels. NASA only got one ping from the robot after putting it in energy-saving mode. All future attempts to contact the opportunity met with silence. Right before the dust storm, Opportunity started taking pictures of what would become its final resting place. The above panorama consists of 354 individual frames captured between May 13th and June 10th.
The dead center in the panorama is the path that the Opportunity took while entering Perseverance Valley. On the right, you can see some traces of the rover and a small hill on the edge of the crater rim. On the left, the panorama has captured some tabular rock formations.
NASA has an enlarged version of the whole image (above, and click on the full screen icon in the upper right) if you want to see the details better. The images come from three different filters of the rover's Pancam unit: 753 nanometers (near infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (purple). You may notice that some lower-left frames are monochrome. This is because the rover didn't have enough time to capture the green and violet views of that area before the dust storm cleared the sun.
What you are looking at is the last home of Opportunities. It's gone but not forgotten. NASA's Curiosity rover was based on Opportunity's success and survived the dust storm thanks to its radio-thermal energy source. The next NASA rover Mars (currently known only as Mars 2020) will use a similar design with new tools aimed at finding signs of life on the red planet. We can only hope that it will have the success of Opportunity.