Opportunity at Perseverance Valley: Today’s APOD by Ken Kremer and Marco Di Lorenzo

Opportunity rover at Perseverance Valley –
Farewell view 

Featured on Astronomy
Picture of the Day (APOD) on Feb. 15, 2019.
This pre-dust storm panoramic mosaic view was one of the last
ones taken by NASA’s Opportunity rover and shows the spectacular view from her
approximate current position as of June 2018 after traveling halfway down the
fluid carved slope of Perseverance Valley – while peering
into the interior of vast Endeavour Crater. 
This navcam camera photo mosaic was
assembled by Ken Kremer and Marco Di Lorenzo from raw images taken on Sol 5074  (3 May 2018) and colorized. Credit:
NASA/JPL/Cornell/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Ken Kremer  SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
–15 February 2019


CAPE CANAVERAL,
FL – Opportunity
at Perseverance Valley’
is the featured image on today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) Feb15, 2019 – the mosaic was created by the imaging team of Ken Kremer and Marco
Di Lorenzo.



NASA declared the Opportunity mission complete on Feb. 13 after no transmissions were received in a final try following 8 months
of dogged attempts to recontact the six wheeled robot after a historic planet
encircling dust storm hit Mars and knocked out all  communications – ceasing
on June 10, 2018. 



Opportunity at Perseverance Valley’ is a farewell view across the Martian Landscape peering
around vast Endeavour Crater – As seen through the eyes of NASA’s Opportunity MarsExploration Rover (MER) mission after 15 Years Roving the Red Planet!



Perseverance Valley’ is the
location where she stands for eternity. Although designed and ‘wannentied’ as a
mere 90 day mission, she actually endured and explored for over 5000 sols. That’s
more than 55 times beyond
the design lifetime of what the scientists and engineers planned. 



Here is the text from today’s APOD:


Explanation: Opportunity had already reached Perseverance Valley by June of 2018. Its
view is reconstructed in a colorized mosaic of images taken by the Mars
Exploration Rover’s
Navcam. In fact, Perseverance Valley is an
appropriate name for the destination. Designed for a 90 day
mission, Opportunity had traveled across Mars for over 5,000 sols (martian
solar days) following a January 2004 landing
in Eagle crater. Covering a total distance of over 45 kilometers (28 miles),
its intrepid journey of exploration across the Martian landscape has come to a
close here. On June 10, 2018, the last transmission from the solar-powered
rover was received as a dust storm engulfed
the Red Planet
. Though the storm has subsided, eight months of
attempts to contact Opportunity have not been successful and its trailblazing
mission ended after almost 15 years of exploring the surface of Mars



……

Our mosaic featured on ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ today Feb 15 is a tribute to the team who designed, built
and operated the golf cart sized Opportunity.



The
last communication from the robot nicknamed ‘Oppy’ with Earth was received June
10, 2018 (Sol 5111) where she stands at Perseverance Valley – a gully carved by
flowing liquid water in ancient times along the eroded rim of giant Endeavour Crater.



Opportunity was the longest surviving robot ever to
explore the surface of Mars. 



She was declareddead by NASA officials on Wednesday, Feb. 13 after conducting a record-setting
15 year mission on the Red Planet when she  failed to respond to a final set of ‘Phone
Home’ sent last night from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.  Read my story here. 



To illustrate
Opportunity’s adventures, I’m including herein several of the hundreds of
Opportunity rover mosaics created by the imaging team of Ken Kremer (founder
and editor of Space UpClose) and Marco Di Lorenzo – including several more mosaics
showing the wide panoramic view from the top of Perserenance Valley. Also check
out our route map below showing the entire 15 year journey across Mars. 
Opportunity rover looks south
from the top of Perseverance Valley along the rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars
in this partial self portrait including the rover deck and solar panels.
Perseverance Valley descends from the right and terminates down near the crater
floor. This navcam camera photo mosaic was assembled from raw images taken on
Sol 4736 (20 May 2017) and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com

When the massive planet-encircling dust storm hit Opportunity had
been descending down and exploring Perseverance
Valley located
along the eroded western rim of the gigantic 22-km diameter (14
mi) impact crater named Endeavour. 





This series of images
shows simulated views of a darkening Martian sky blotting out the Sun from
NASA’s Opportunity rover’s point of view, with the right side simulating
Opportunity’s current view in the historic  global dust storm (June 2018) the worst ever
recorded on Mars.  The middle panel 3rd
from right shows how the sky darkened in the worst prior dust storm when some sunlight
got through the haze and the rover survived. 
Credits:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU


NASA’s Opportunity rover acquired
this Martian panoramic view from a promontory that overlooks Perseverance
Valley below – scanning from north to south. It is centered on due East and
into the interior of Endeavour crater. Perseverance Valley descends from the
right and terminates down near the crater floor in the center of the panorama.
The far rim of Endeavour crater is seen in the distance, beyond the dark floor.
Rover deck and wheel tracks at right. This navcam camera photo mosaic was
assembled from raw images taken on Sol 4730 (14 May 2017) and colorized.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Historic 1st descent down Martian
gully. Panoramic view looking down Perseverance Valley after entry at top was
acquired by NASA’s Opportunity rover scanning from north to south. It shows
numerous wheel tracks at left, center and right as rover conducted walkabout
tour prior to starting historic first decent down a Martian gully – possibly
carved by water – and looks into the interior of Endeavour crater. Perseverance
Valley terminates down near the crater floor in the center of the panorama. The
far rim of Endeavour crater is seen in the distance, beyond the dark floor.
Rover mast shadow at center and deck at left. This navcam camera photo mosaic
was assembled by Ken Kremer and Marco Di Lorenzo from raw images taken on Sol
4780 (5 July 2017) and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

As of Feb 13, 2019, the
day the mission was declared complete, long lived Opportunity had survived or
experienced over 5350 Sols (or Martian days) roving the harsh environment of
the Red Planet. 



Opportunity has taken over
228,771 images and traversed over
28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers) – more than a marathon. 



Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the
KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed on TV and radio about space topics.
………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Ken’s
upcoming talks:



Apr 3: “Exploring
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.”  7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson
Middle School, Summit, NJ. Open to the public. Details upcoming.
Latest results from Mars & Ultima Thule

15 Year Traverse Map for NASA’s Opportunity
rover from 2004 to 2019. This map shows the entire 45-kilometer (28 mi) path
the rover has driven on the Red Planet during over 15 Earth years (7.8 Mars
years) and more than a marathon runners distance for over 5300 Sols, or Martian
days, since landing inside Eagle Crater on Jan 24, 2004 – to current and final location
at Perseverance Valley at the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover
reached Perseverance Valley in May 2017 and descended about halfway by June
2018.
  Its likely a water carved Martian
gully. Opportunity surpassed Marathon distance on Sol 3968 after reaching 11th
Martian anniversary on Sol 3911. Opportunity discovered clay minerals at
Esperance – indicative of a habitable zone – and searched for more at Marathon
Valley. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/ASU/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com


Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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