CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA's longest-running rover on Mars, Opportunity, has been pronounced dead, 15 years after it landed on the red planet.
The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate just three months. But it kept going and going until it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm eight months ago.
After 800+ attempts to contact @MarsRovers Opportunity, today we’re announcing the end of a successful Martian mission. Intended to explore the Red Planet for 90 days, Oppy outlived its mission lifetime by 14+ years. Join us live now: https://t.co/zJwTTpQNwp #ThanksOppy pic.twitter.com/U4J26TfzDv— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 13, 2019
To the robot who turned 90 days into 15 years of exploration:— Spirit and Oppy (@MarsRovers) February 13, 2019
You were, and are, the Opportunity of a lifetime.
Rest well, rover. Your mission is complete.
Flight controllers made numerous attempts to contact it and sent one final series of recovery commands Tuesday night, accompanied by one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You." There was no response, only silence.
Remarkably spry until communication ceased last June, Opportunity roamed a record 28 miles (45 kilometers) around Mars.
Opportunity and its long-dead twin rover, Spirit, found evidence that ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.