Callas summed up what most of the Opportunity team felt when he told the assembled press today that "this is a hard day, and this is hard for me because I was there at the beginning". "Science is an emotional affair, it's a team sport", he said. "I will never forget the wonderful work that happened here". The findings will advance understanding of how all rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evolved.
He also said it was decked out with the "finest batteries in the solar system", capable of getting through 5,000 charge and discharge cycles "to get through the coldest, darkest parts of Mars".
Mars-orbiting satellites spotted the rover after the storm ended, but mission scientists sent more than 835 recovery commands to Opportunity without any response. The robot was originally created to last just 90 days, and was built to travel just over 1,000 yards.
Today's final Opportunity news briefing took on the trappings of a memorial service, featuring far more ceremony than NASA employed when the Spirit rover - Opportunity's twin in the Mars Exploration Rover mission - went dead in 2011.
Unlike NASA's nuclear-powered Curiosity rover still chugging along on Mars, Opportunity and Spirit were never created to endure such severe weather. All the dust in the air prevented sunlight from reaching Opportunity's solar panels, and the robot was unable to recharge its batteries. Mars experiences regional dust storms each year, but only occasionally do they expand to engulf the entire planet.
Contact with Opportunity was lost during the fiercest Martian dust storm in decades. But this time, the storm was worse and the opacity of the atmosphere climbed to unprecedented levels.
North and South Korea to submit joint bid for 2032 Olympics
Most US troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean war. Washington's top negotiator, Betts, also met with South Korea's Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, before signing the agreement.
Update, Feb. 13, 10:10 a.m. PT: Adds NASA's last attempt to contact Opportunity on Tuesday.
"We tried valiantly over these last eight months to try to recover the rover, to get some signal from it". Since September, the team at NASA has been using a "sweep and beep" process to try to contact the robot, which involves sending commands to the rover, and waiting to hear a beep back. "They become your children", said John Callas, project manager for JPL's rover programme.
Also, this highlight reel from Opportunity's career quietly appeared online Tuesday with a description that includes an terrible lot of talk about the rover in the past tense. "It's the accomplished exploration and phenomenal discoveries".
Nasa's Opportunity rover was created to last only three months. But 14-and-a-half years later, and 45 kilometers of odometry, we've done phenomenal things.
And the duo's work has paved the way for even more-ambitious Red Planet roving.
A false-color view showing layered terrain in the rim of Victoria Crater as seen by Opportunity's cameras.
"These rovers have transformed the way humanity looks at Mars", said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, the scientific principal investigator of Spirit and Opportunity's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. The car-size Curiosity rover has been characterizing possibly habitable environments inside Mars' 96-mile-wide (154 km) Gale Crater since August 2012, and NASA plans to launch the life-hunting Mars 2020 rover next year.