FEB 18, 2018 05:08 PM PST
NASA's Opportunity Rover Endures 5,000 Martian Sols
WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard
3 5 302

NASA’s Opportunity rover surpassed a momentous milestone this weekend after experiencing its 5,000th Martian Dawn.

This image, captured by Opportunity's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) illustrates the rover's 4,999th sunrise.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Pancam

When Opportunity first landed on the Martian surface on January 25th, 2004, NASA engineers weren’t expecting the rover to survive more than 90 Martian sols (90 Martian days). Nevertheless, it continues to explore the Martian surface and relay information back to scientists on Earth to this very day.

An artist's rendition of the Mars Opportunity rover.

Image Credit: NASA

"Five thousand sols after the start of our 90-sol mission, this amazing rover is still showing us surprises on Mars," said a very excited John Callas, the Opportunity Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Related: NASA says the Curiosity rover's wheels are beginning to break

Citing an official statement by NASA, Opportunity has accumulated more than 28.02 miles on its odometer since reaching the Martian surface more than 14 years ago. Furthermore, the rover has sent more than 225,000 individual photographs back to Earth for analysis; most of those are available online for your viewing pleasure.

"We've reached lots of milestones, and this is one more," Callas continued, "but more important than the numbers are the exploration and the scientific discoveries."

Related: NASA rover finds mud cracks on the Martian surface

Opportunity’s various science instruments have probed countless craters scattered along the Martian surface. Much of what we know today about Mars’ watery past can be attributed to data gathered by the rover along the way.

Today, Opportunity can be found roughly one-third of the way down Mars’ “Perseverance Valley;” it continues to venture into unexplored territory with the hope that we might discover something astonishing.

There’s no way of knowing just how many more sols the rover might endure before reaching the end of its life, but one can only hope that it’ll remain operational for a long time to come.

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
FEB 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
FEB 19, 2018
Astrophotographer Captures Footage of Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in Space
While SpaceX set a precedent for space travel when they launched the Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time, we can’t forget about the rocket’s
MAR 29, 2018
Technology
MAR 29, 2018
Watch One Strange Rock in an Immersive Space Helmet
Inside the space helmet replica, fish-eye optics, built-in audio and laser projection create "an exceptionally wide field of view."
APR 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
APR 17, 2018
NASA's Upcoming Mission to Explore the Sun
At the center of our solar system exists a glowing-hot ball of nuclear fusion that we call the Sun. While scientists have uncovered many truths about the S
APR 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
APR 18, 2018
Minerals Inside This Meteorite May Hold Clues About the Early Solar System
A meteorite that landed in the Nubian Desert of Sudan almost a decade ago appears to be stirring up quite a bit of attention in the scientific community th
MAY 07, 2018
Space & Astronomy
MAY 07, 2018
Scientists Confirm Existence of Solar Rossby Waves
Another day, another discovery. Researchers from both the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) and University of Göttingen say
JUN 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 17, 2018
Astronaut Peggy Whitson Retires From NASA
Renowned NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson retired from the American space agency on Friday, just nine months after returning to Earth from the International Sp
Loading Comments...