How NASA's Opportunity and Spirit Rovers Changed Mars Exploration Forever
Publication/Creation DateFebruary 13 2019
DescriptionNASA's record-breaking Opportunity rover may be gone, but its legacy is assured.
NASA declared Opportunity dead today (Feb. 13), officially closing the books on the golf-cart-size robot's epic 15-year Red Planet run. And run is an apt term, for Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, were the first truly mobile Mars explorers.
Before the solar-powered duo touched down in January 2004, humanity had successfully dropped just four spacecraft on the Martian surface: the Soviet Union's stationary Mars 3 lander in 1971 (which ceased functioning just seconds after touchdown), NASA's similarly sessile Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers in 1976, and the U.S. space agency's Pathfinder mission in 1997.
Date archivedFebruary 15 2019
Last editedFebruary 15 2019