The Opportunity rover has just about reached it’s 11 year anniversary of it’s 90 day mission puttering around Mars. The actual day is tomorrow since the rover landed on January 25th, 2004.
To mark its incredible accomplishment, the imaging team produced a lovely panorama of what the rover would see from its current position on a high point along the rim of endeavour crater.
The map below shows the path of Opportunity over its past 11 years, from the Eagle crater, to endurance crater, to Victoria crater, and finally on to the much more massive Endeavour crater, where it currently sits near the site named Cape Tribulation. This is the spot where the rover captured the panorama.
Opportunity also holds the record for longest distance travelled on any other world. This is especially amazing because it beat all of the records of Lunar rovers, and has covered nearly the distance of a marathon, 42 Km.
Opportunity has definitely had to face adversity over the course of its time on Mars. In April 2005, the rover was stuck in a sand dune until June, when the mission team was finally able to free it. It’s wheels had suck ddep into the Martian soil, but it kept on fighting.
The rover has accomplished it’s main scientific goals, including the study of various rocks along different sites to determine the history of water on the red planet. It continues to explore sites along the rim of the endeavour crater, searching for clues about the geological history of Mars, taking atmospheric measurements, and showing us what humanity can accomplish when we work together with a focus on scientific advancement.