NASA Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity’s Parting Shot is a Beautiful Panorama
The photos were clicked between May 13 and June 10 last year.
This image is a cropped version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, 2018. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)
While the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity may now no longer be in service on the red planet, its final memory is a beautiful panorama which the rover painstakingly clicked over 29 days last spring. NASA has revealed the image, which has been taken at the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Perseverance Valley on Mars.
The panorama is stitched together with 354 individual images provided by the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam). The photos were clicked between May 13 and June 10 last year—also known as sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111. The images were taken using three different Pancam filters. NASA says that the filters admit light centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).
NASA also clarifies that the few frames that remain black and white are because the solar-powered Opportunity rover did not have the time to record those locations using the green and violet filters, before a severe Mars-wide dust storm in June 2018.
"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery," says Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance. 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. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers."
Incidentally, the Endeavour Crater would also become the resting place of Opportunity. NASA had declared Opportunity's mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019. NASA intends to send its next rover to Mars in 2020, which will carry seven carefully-selected instruments to conduct investigations on the red planet.
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