5,000 days on Mars: NASA celebrates Opportunity rover’s extended stay
NASA stands proud as the space agency celebrated the continued operation of the Mars rover Opportunity after more than 5,000 days of exploration.
Initially planned to work for only 90 days, the Opportunity Mars rover has since gone far beyond its mission parameters. The team didn’t expect the rover to survive a Martian winter and continue sending pictures back to Earth, according to a statement.
“Five thousand sols after the start of our 90-sol mission, this amazing rover is still showing us surprises on Mars,” said Opportunity Project Manager John Callas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Days are longer by 40 minutes on Mars compared with Earth days. This also makes one Martian year longer than an Earth year. Within this context, the Opportunity’s longevity becomes even more impressive.
“We’ve reached lots of milestones, and this is one more,” Callas said, “but more important than the numbers are the exploration and the scientific discoveries.”
Below is a photo of a Martian sunrise taken on Opportunity’s 4,999th day on Mars. /ra
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