The fifteen-year mission of the veteran Mars rover, Opportunity was finally declared over by NASA after the agency lost contact with it during a dust storm in June last year.
According to The Guardian, it was unable to recharge its batteries. Hundreds of messages which were sent from Earth remained unanswered over the months.
The mission's end was announced by Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate.
He said that the rover remained silent after a last-ditch effort to contact it on Tuesday.
The rover that could. Set to last 90 days, @MarsRovers Opportunity spent 14+ years on Mars thanks to the team's ingenuity. In 2011, her wheel motor was wearing out, so engineers designed a way to keep the mission going...in reverse! They often drove backward to extend her life. https://t.co/sZMqpQbJIt— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) February 13, 2019
Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 shortly after its twin, a rover called Spirit.
Together, the pair were part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover programme. However, Spirit got stuck in Mars' soil in 2009 and was declared defunct in 2011.
People took to Twitter to bid the Opportunity rover a bittersweet goodbye.
Thank you Opportunity for all the science data you gave us over the years, providing us with a greater insight into Mars, and inspiring future explorers. You ARE the little rover that could. Rest Peacefully little dude :’) @MarsRovers #Oppy #OpportunityRover pic.twitter.com/NuDRC8ocI6— Isaac (@I_xaacc) February 13, 2019
Goodbye Opportunity rover 😭 you set a new bar for exploration. Plan on 3 months of use, get 15 YEARS!!!! 🤯 congrats to @NASAJPL @NASA for an astounding mission, literally doing a marathon on Mars. Sleep well Oppy, we’ll be there soon and wake you up ❤️ #opportunityrover pic.twitter.com/Xl1teCkgJ2— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) February 13, 2019
Nothing to see here, definitely not crying over the poor #OpportunityRover killed by a dust storm, with his Wall-E looking corpse all alone on Mars forever.— Kate Shepard (@kshepard338) February 14, 2019
"My battery is low and it's getting dark."The last message from the Opportunity rover. It went to Mars with a 3 month lifespan and ended up lasting over 15 years. God speed.#RIP #OpportunityRover— That One Guy (@WhoThat_One_Guy) February 14, 2019
Hey little buddy. You were quite the star several years ago. I feel honoured meeting you in person. We have some plans, I‘m sure you‘re gonna like it.#ThanksOppy #ThankYouOppy #Oppy #OpportunityRover pic.twitter.com/Sk4oSbOEOv— Hanyuu / Jenn 👽💮 (@CaptainHanyuu) February 14, 2019
Hooray for NASA and Opportunity rover for a job well done!— Van Reese (@vrr616) February 14, 2019