NASA CONCLUDES A 15-YEAR MARS MISSION OPPORTUNITY
19, Feb 2019
Prelims level : Mains level :
GS 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics etc.
Why in News?
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Mars Mission- Opportunity has come to an end as they are unable to restore contact with Mars Rover.
- This marked the conclusion of the 15-year long mission.
- The decision to end the mission was made after all the efforts to restore contact with the Opportunity Mars rover didn’t yield desired results.
- Reason for losing contact with an opportunity:
- A historic global dust storm reached the location of the Opportunity rover on Mars.
- The storm darkened the skies and cut off of the rover’s solar power.
- All the efforts of NASA to restore the rover did not yield positive results.
- Things worsened with the onset of the winter at the location of the Opportunity rover.
- The reduced sunlight and colder temperatures during winter made it unlikely for the recovery of the Opportunity rover.
- Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars in January 2004.
- Opportunity landed 90 days after its twin rover Spirit landed.
- Spirit landed at Gusev Crater and Opportunity landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridiani Planum. NASA expected 90-day lifetimes for the rovers.
- Both Opportunity and Spirit far exceeded their expected lifetime.
- Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after travelling eight kilometres and Opportunity had logged 45 kilometres before losing contact in June 2018.