Opportunity Rover of NASA has finally completed 15 years on the surface of Red Planet on January 25, 2019. Back in 2004, the rover had reached safely to the area of Meridiani Planum on the surface of Mars and returned a signal to Earth sharp at 9:05 pm. The rover was supposed to cover 1,100 yards and be on the surface of Mars for 90 Martian days or sols. 28 miles had already been covered and 5000th Martian day was stepped into, sometime during February 2018.
John Callas, the Project manager of Opportunity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, California, talked about the experience of 15 long years. He said that such a prolonged time in scientific exploration is a matter of a team’s extreme hard work, dedication and talent to have expanded their discovery on some other planet. But, the 15th anniversary is not that satisfying after all. Team of scientists has lost contact and communication with Opportunity rover. They are doing everything at the moment to re-establish contact with the rover. However, as days pass by, it is being even more difficult to have successful communication.
The last contact was made on June 10, 2018. Following that, there was a dust storm which covered solar powered panel of the rover. It was then located at Perseverance valley, but gradually sunlight was entirely blocked out and the Opportunity could not get its batteries charged. Spirit, the twin rover of Opportunity had landed on Mars in 2004 as well. The mission of Spirit was finished by 2011.
Since the 5111th sol, no news has been heard from Mars regarding Opportunity. The rover must have lost contact due to low power, clock fault or any issue with the timer. Since signal was lost, the team has been trying to know about the present condition and whereabouts of Opportunity.