NASA missions, which are generally planned for a few months to a few years, continue on for a long time well past the mission timelines and Mars rover Opportunity is no different.
Originally planned for just 90 sol duration of activity mission (slightly more than 90 earth days), Opportunity rover has been going on strong for an unprecedented 13 years and to mark its 13th year on Mars, NASA has released a video [embedded above] explaining why it thinks that the rover is like a teenager.
The rover was launched on July 7, 2003 and touched down on the Red Planet on on January 25, 2004. While its twin rover – Spirit – breathed its last in 2009, Opportunity is going on strong and continues to send across data collected through its observations on the Red Planet.
As of January 17, 2017, Opportunity rover had traveled 43.79 kilometres (27.21 miles). Opportunity has continued to move, gather scientific observations, and report back to Earth for over 50 times its designed lifespan. The two six-wheeled robots survived dust-storms and reached Endeavour crater in 2011, which has been described as a ‘second landing site’.