Nasa's Opportunity rover leaves us with one final photo of Mars

Last updated at 07:37
Opportunity RoverAFP / Getty Images

Even though we said goodbye to Nasa's Opportunity rover in February after its 15-year mission on the red planet ended, the robot still had one final gift to send back to Earth.

It took one last beautiful image of Mars's landscape before it lost contact with ground control after a dust storm.

The incredible panorama photo was taken in an area of Mars called Perseverance Valley.

Opportunity spent a lot of time gathering data here, and ultimately this is where it lost power.

Incredible panorama photo taken by Nasa's Opportunity rover in an area of Mars called Perseverance Valley.NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU
Opportunity's final photo taken on Mars

The photo gives a view of the rim of the Endeavour Crater in the distance, rover tracks from Opportunity, and to the far right and left is the bottom of Perseverance Valley.

"This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery," said Opportunity project manager John Callas of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Despite the loss of Oppy - as it was known by fans - the mood of Nasa staff has been one of celebration at what it achieved.

Here are just a few things the Mars rover did during its long mission.

Completing a marathon
The route of the Nasa marathonNASA

March 2015: It had taken him eleven years, but by this point Oppy had travelled 26.2 miles, the equivalent of a marathon!

By 2018, it had travelled just over 28 miles, and still holds the record for the most travelled off-world rover.

Finding blueberries
Picture of the small spheres called blueberries on MarsNASA

January 2015: Opportunity discovered these little balls embedded in outcrop rocks and scattered over some areas of soil inside a small crater.

They were labelled blueberries, because of their dark blue colour due to a high concentration of the mineral hematite.

Snapping a 'jelly doughnut'
Nasa's jelly doughnutNASA

February 2014: Blueberries weren't the only strange rocks Oppy found. After it shared these pictures, everyone wanted to know what the stone - which people thought looked like a jelly doughnut - actually was.

Even William Shatner, who played Captain James Kirk in TV series Star Trek contacted Nasa to ask if they'd "ruled out the Martian rock throwers in the case of the jelly doughnut".

Discovering clay
Image of clay-like landscape on MarsNASA

June 2013: The robot found clay minerals in a type of rock called Esperance. It means the rock may have had a lot of contact with water in the past.

This helped scientists learn that Mars was much warmer and wetter billions of years ago that has previously been suggested.

Photographing a crater

May 2012: Sending back amazing pictures like this!

This picture is actually made up of a dozen smaller images taken by the rover's panoramic camera over the Endeavour Crater.

Searching for 'water on Mars'
"Homestake": The gypsum vein is just 1-2cm wideNASA
This is what the slivers looked like

December 2011: As an early Christmas present, Oppy found slivers of a bright material that looks very much like it is gypsum (calcium sulphate) - which at the time was the most powerful piece of evidence for liquid water on Mars.

A meteorite!
Handout photo of the meteorite given out by NasaNASA

January 2005: This was one of Oppy's early discoveries: a meteorite roughly the size of a basketball, and the first meteorite ever discovered on another planet!

Great work Oppy! You did both your planet and ours proud.

Your Comments

Join the conversation