(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED NASA SCIENTIST SAYING DURING GRAPHIC ANIMATION OF OPPORTUNITY'S STORY: "We said, we're going to operate this vehicle until the day we can't, and that's exactly what we did, and I'm really proud." NASA scientists in California on Wednesday said that the Mars Opportunity Rover has officially ended its 15-year career of scientific exploration, after NASA lost touch with Opportunity last June.
Thomas Zurbuchen (PRONOUNCED Thomas Sur-book-en), the Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said last ditch commands went out to Opportunity, but they had not heard back.
(SOUNDBITE) THOMAS ZURBUCHEN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, NASA SCIENCE MISSION DIRECTORATE, HQ, SAYING: "It is therefore with deep appreciation and gratitude that I declare the Opportunity mission as complete." NASA said Opportunity drove the distance of a marathon on Mars and made the landmark discovery of blueberry-like features NASA says were a 'definitive sign' there was once water on the red planet.
Officials said Opportunity's equipment may have been compromised by a global dust storm that struck while the rover was at a site called Perseverance Valley, but its legacy will be one of durability ..the rover's mission lasting far longer than anyone had expected...