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NASA's Mars Opportunity over as the rover dies after 15 years

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By Euronews
NASA's Mars Opportunity over as the rover dies after 15 years
Copyright  NASA/JPL/Cornell University

It was the Mars rover that kept on going, lasting longer than any other robot sent to red planet but after 15 years of exploring craters and sampling soil, Opportunity has finally succumbed to the Martian dust.

Engineers lost contact with the rover, which is the size of a golf cart, on June 10 during a dust storm. NASA had been trying to make contact with Opportunity since then.

On Tuesday, engineers sent a transmission to try and revive the robot in a last-ditch attempt but heard nothing back. 

“It is, therefore, that I am standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude that I declare the Opportunity mission as complete,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, announced on Thursday.

Officials said it is believed the rover's equipment could have been compromised by the storm, which blotted out the sunlight needed for Opportunity's solar panels.

The durable NASA rover was originally designed to roll along the planet for three months, but it continued roaming for 15 years and delivered some truly groundbreaking revelations.

"(The) really interesting thing that they discovered was that there was water where Opportunity had driven which you could have drunk. This is billions of years ago, but you would have been able to drink that water. So it really kind of changes our perception of what we think about habitability on our neighbouring planet," Euronews Science Correspondent Jeremy Wilks said.