Mars Exploration Rover

3D rendering of a Mars Exploration Rover (Image NASA/JPL)

Ten years ago today, Mars Exploration Rover B, Opportunity, landed on Mars, using a “simple” airbag system.

Opportunity stowed

Opportunity, ready to be packed for Launch (Image JPL/NASA)

Both Opportunity and Spirit, which had landed twenty-one days before, were designed for a 90-martian-day mission. And yet, Opportunity is still roving, taking pictures and doing scientific experiments, ten years later. That’s almost forty times longer than the planned mission.

Opportunity’s landing site - scroll laterally (Image NASA/JPL)

During this ten-year long mission, the rover had time to visit six craters, inspect tens of meteorites and martian rocks, visit its own heat shield, and send back some of the most impressive pictures of Mars’s terrain, and it’s not over yet. Congratulations to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory teams managing the rover, and a happy birthday to Opportunity!

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory uploaded a video showing the rover’s whole journey on Mars