Ten years ago, the Opportunity rover landed on Mars. What started out as a three-month mission has remarkably stretched into a decade.
The rover has certainly aged during this time. Mars Exploration Rover project manager John Callas says Opportunity suffers from arthritis in its robotic arm, has a non-functioning front wheel, and occasionally has “senior moments” with its flash memory. Even so, it’s chugging along into its second decade on the red planet, unlike its twin Spirit, which landed weeks before Opportunity did in 2004 and gave out after being stuck in a sand trap in 2010. In 2012, Curiosity joined Opportunity on Mars.
We’ve dug into NASA’s photo archives to reflect back on Opportunity’s tenure. Here’s to 10 more years.