NASA rover finally bites the dust on Mars after 15 years

The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate just three months.

Posted: Feb 13, 2019 1:39 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2019 9:43 PM

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.

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.

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