What Will Happen to the Opportunity Rover's Dead Body on Mars?

The little solar-paneled robot apparently ran out of battery power during the Red Planet's awesome 2018 dust storm , and after one last attempt to contact it, NASA concluded yesterday (Feb. 13) that the far-off explorer is no more.

Jeff Moersch, a professor of planetary science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a member of the Opportunity team, cautioned that he's not an expert in the rover's engineering.

Opportunity functioned as long as it did because regular Martian winds tended to routinely blow dust off its body.

Steve Squyres, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and head of the Opportunity science mission, made clear during NASA's press conference announcing the rover's death that the agency has no plans to bring the rover back to Earth.

That said, Moersch added, when humans do settle Mars, it's not unreasonable to imagine they might make some effort to recover and preserve Opportunity.

At the time, Opportunity was moving farther into Endurance Crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars.

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