On 24th January, 2017, Tuesday, NASA’s Opportunity Rover marks its 13th Birthday on the Red Planet and documented as the first teenage rover to spend long 13 years on Mars. Opportunity Rover, is also known as Mars Exploration Rover – B (MER-B) or MER-1. It is a computerized Space probe, which is intended to monitor Mars and explore new facts about the Red Planet. It was launched on 7th July, 2003 as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover program and is active on Mars since 2004. The rover touchdown the surface of Mars in Meridiani Planum on 25th January, 2004, just three weeks after its doppelganger rover ‘Spirit’ (MER-A) landed on the opposite side of the planet.
However, while its twin Spirit got stuck with Mars’ sand in 2009 and closed down its communications in 2010, the Opportunity rove is still active on Mars and on January 25, 2017, it successfully completed its 13 years of space journey. Since 13 years, the Opportunity has been moving across the Red Plane, conducting scientific observations, gathering data, and transmitting the reports to the Earth. As of 17th January, 2017, the space probe had successfully travelled 43.79 kilometers (27.21 miles) on Mars and still continued to move.
The fundamental aim of Opportunity Rover was to find out a range of Mars rocks and soils that hold evidences to the ancient water activities on the Red Planet. It is also working on the exploration of geologic processes that have configured Mars’ topography and chemistry.
Among all of its notable collections and discoveries on Mars, the report that ‘Mars was much warmer and wetter in the prehistoric time than it is today’ is the most notable one. For beating the drum for Opportunity reaching at its teenage stage, NASA has published a documentary video footage of 2.21 seconds.
Commenting on the new birthday video of Opportunity, Abigail Fraeman, the deputy project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California said, “Opportunity has privileged us with numerous information and reports about the Red Planet. It had taught us about the presence of water on Mars, which later linked us with the possibility of life on Mars.”