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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.

The mission:

  • 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.
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