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Opportunity rover's last picture is as grim as it's dark



A mighty dust storm swirled around the Opportunity rover on June 10, 2018, forcing the robot to shut itself off and conserve power. The dust blocked out almost all the sunlight, turning day to night.

Opportunity would never awake. On Wednesday, NASA announced that they would no longer attempt to revive the 15-year-old machine, formally ending the legendary extraterrestrial mission. ” data-fragment=”m!93c4″ data-image=”https://mondrian.mashable.com/uploads%252Fcard%252Fimage%252F934081%252F2826ae14-096d-4790-a785-de7d956c77c8.jpg%252Foriginal.jpg?signature=oPBM_nZZvzu9KLerPDlXErJRYwI=&source=https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com”

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Opportunity's final picture ” data-fragment=”m!93c4″ data-image=”https://mondrian.mashable.com/uploads%252Fcard%252Fimage%252F934081%252F2826ae14-096d-4790-a785-de7d956c77c8.jpg%252Foriginal.jpg?signature=oPBM_nZZvzu9KLerPDlXErJRYwI=&source=https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com” data-micro=”1″/>

Opportunity's final picture

The image captured a Martian world shrouded in darkness by

But on that dark June day, just before Opportunity went silent, the rover took one final picture: the dust storm.

"This was the last image we ever took," Bill Nelson, chief of the Opportunity mission's engineering team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an interview just after NASA declared the mission over.

"We're looking at an incredibly small amount of sunlight – .002 percent of the normal sunlight that we would expect to see," said Nelson. "

But in this final image, no Martian features are visible

] In the picture, the white static amid the black is just image noise, the camera picked up in the darkened setting. "It's kind of like the image you get on your phone in a very dark environment," said Nelson. (19659011) If the rover had not been caught in such a dust bust, it would have taken it to the ground. and a picture down a channel, about 20 feet across, as Opportunity peered down into a valley, said Nelson.

So-called "Perseverance Valley" became Opportunity's final resting spot.

 Sixteen days earlier, Opportunity captured the following picture of the wide, sloping environment. </p>
<figure class=

 Perseverance Valley, taken in early June 2018.

Perseverance Valley, taken in early June 2018.

Over the course of Opportunity's life, the rover shot well over 200,000 images and sent them back to Earth.

One of Nelson's favorites came just 180 Martian days, or sols, into Opportunity's exploration of the red planet. With the sun shining behind the rover, Opportunity captured an image of its long shadow.

 Opportunity's shadow taken on July 27, 2004.

Opportunity's shadow taken on July 27, 2004.

"It's very evocative of the status of that rover, "said Nelson. "Now, the 400-pound robot will spend millions getting shrouded in red dust, and NASA engineers like Nelson will move on to other extraterrestrial

"It's bittersweet," said Nelson, noting how he's been working with engineers and scientists who directed Opportunity for some 15 years. "Now, our teams are going to sort of scatter to the winds."

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