MAR 13, 2019 9:42 AM PDT

This is the Last Panorama Image That NASA's Opportunity Rover Ever Produced

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s long-lived Opportunity rover mission came to an unfortunate end last month after nearly 15 years’ worth of scientific exploration on Mars. Despite being silenced by a planet-wide dust storm just last year, the Opportunity rover’s impressive legacy lives on. Existing and upcoming Martian rovers will continue to explore the red planet’s surface with the hope of some significant scientific discovery.

An artist's rendition of the Opportunity rover on Mars.

Image Credit: NASA

To commemorate Opportunity’s breathtaking service to planetary scientists everywhere, NASA just this week published what appears to be the rover’s final 360-degree panoramic image, which was allegedly captured last Spring just before Mars’ massive dust storm materialized and threw a wrench in NASA’s Opportunity-centric plans. That image has been embedded below for your viewing pleasure:

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery," elucidated John Callas, the Opportunity rover mission’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Callas continued by describing the contents of the panoramic image in an attempt to give us all a better idea of what we’re actually looking at:

"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."

Related: Say hello to the future landing site of the Mars 2020 rover

According to NASA, this particular panorama was stitched together out of 354 individual images snapped by Opportunity’s Pancam (panoramic camera), and they were purportedly captured during 29 days between May 10th and June 13th.

NASA also explains that the bottom-left region of the panorama remains black and white because Opportunity didn’t have enough time to resolve the true colors before Mars’ dust storm ensued, blocking the view and hindering progress (evidently for good).

Although captivating, the panorama indeed invokes some slightly bittersweet feelings. For example, this is the last place Opportunity saw before meeting its untimely doom last Spring. Put another way, we’re actually looking at the surroundings of the Opportunity rover’s final resting place, and it sure is beautiful to say the least.

The space agency also shared the following incomplete image, adding that this was the last piece of data Opportunity sent to Earth before becoming permanently unreachable. As we can tell, it’s somewhat noisy, which speaks to the rather harsh conditions that fell upon Opportunity:

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

Related: The Curiosity rover's wheels are starting to break

While it’s certainly unfortunate that the Opportunity rover mission couldn’t be revived, it’s still somewhat remarkable that the rover managed to complete this beautiful panorama before kicking the bucket. After all, it’s a view to behold.

And for those of you that like Martian panoramas... stay tuned; that's something that the fully-operational Curiosity rover can still do; and same with the upcoming Mars 2020 rover.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
MAY 27, 2020
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
After officially receiving the green light from NASA to move forward with the first crewed space launch from American so ...
JUN 17, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Mapping the heliosphere with IBEX
JUN 17, 2020
Mapping the heliosphere with IBEX
A study published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplements reports findings from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Expl ...
JUN 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Fast Radio Bursts: The Mysterious Cosmic Signals Just Got More Mysterious
JUN 25, 2020
Fast Radio Bursts: The Mysterious Cosmic Signals Just Got More Mysterious
Since the first discovery thirteen years ago, fast radio bursts (FRBs), a type of short radio pulses, have been fascinat ...
AUG 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Develop Interstellar Sunscreen to Block Deadly Rays
AUG 04, 2020
Scientists Develop Interstellar Sunscreen to Block Deadly Rays
Outside of the Earth's magnetic field exist many kinds of dangerous radiation. These include ultraviolet, X-rays, an ...
AUG 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Rays Might Have Played a Role in Shaping Our Genetic Materials
AUG 14, 2020
Cosmic Rays Might Have Played a Role in Shaping Our Genetic Materials
DNA, whose signature double helix structure scored Watson and Crick (and Frankland presumably according to many) a Nobel ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
Loading Comments...