NASA’s Opportunity rover celebrates its 11th year on Mars with a gorgeous panorama of the Red Planet.
NASA’s longest operating Mars rover is commemorating its 11th year on the Red Planet with a stunning panorama captured from the summit of Cape Tribulation on the western rim of the Endeavour Crater.
The panorama shows the interior the 14-mile-wide crater from one of the highest elevations Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on the Red Planet. Opportunity has been exploring the western rim of the Endeavour Crater since it arrived there in 2011.
The rover, which had a life expectancy of only three months, has gone on to surpass everyone’s expectations. Roaming the Red Planet for more than a decade, the rover has traveled nearly 26 miles from its landing site in Meridiani Planum to its present location on the edge of the Endeavour Crater, farther than any other rover on another world.
During its time on the Red Planet, Opportunity has examined the first meteorite found on another planet, found that water once flowed on the surface of Mars and uncovered evidence that ancient Mars may have had a habitable environment.
Landing on the Red Planet 5:05 UTC on January 25, 2004, Opportunity has vastly exceeded its expectations. However, the rover is starting to show its age, suffering “amnesia events” that have begun to inhibit its science operations. However, mission scientists are working on implementing a fix that will allow the rover to resume normal operation.