A powerful dust storm mulls the Opium rover on June 10, 2018, which forces the robot to shut off and save power. The dust is blocked in almost every sunlight, turning into daytime nights.
The opportunity never goes awry. On Wednesday, NASA announced that they will no longer try to return the 15-year old machine, formally ending the legendary extraterrestrial mission.
But in that dark June day, before Opportunity went quiet, the rover took a final picture:
The image captured by a Martian world shrouded in the darkness by the dust of the dust.
"This is the last picture we took," said Bill Nelson, head of the Opportunity mission engineering team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in an interview after NASA announced the mission.
"We are looking for a very small amount of sunshine – .002 percent of the normal sunshine we look forward to seeing," says Nelson. "If you're there, it's going to be late. Your human eye can still make some features, but it's going to be dark."
But in the final image, no visible features in Martian.
In the picture, white static in the center of black is the only image noise that the camera took in the darkened setting ("It's like the image you get on your phone in a dark environment," says Nelson ). The thick black bar under the image is the data that has never been returned to Earth – that if the Opportunity message is cut in the middle of the sentence.
If the rover was not caught in such a dust storm, it took a picture down a channel, about 20 meters wide, while Opportunity looked over a valley, Nelson said.
The so-called "Perseverance Valley" has become the last chance of an Opportunity break.
Six days earlier, Opportunity acquired the following image of the vast, sleek environment.
Life opportunity, the rifle hit more than 200,000 images and sent it's back to Earth.
One of Nelson's favorites came to 180 Martian days, or sols, exploring the Opportunity of the red planet. By day shining behind the rover, Opportunity got an image of its long shadow.
"The evocative status of that rover is huge," says Nelson. "Here we are, with a small rover on the alien, alien planet that's all right."
Now, the 400-pound robot spends millennia on red dusting, and NASA engineers like Nelson will continue to work on other extraterrestrial projects, including his entire NASA exploration team .
"It hurts," says Nelson, citing how proud he has been to engineers and scientists who have taught Opportunity for about 15 years. "Now, our teams are going to type scatter in the air."