| 8.7°C Belfast

Nasa declares Mars rover dead after 15 years on red planet

The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate for just three months.

Close

The rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars (Nasa/AP)

The rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars (Nasa/AP)

The rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars (Nasa/AP)

Nasa’s longest-running rover on Mars, Opportunity, has been pronounced dead – 15 years after it landed on the red planet.

The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate for just three months.

But it kept going and going until it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm eight months ago.

Flight controllers made numerous attempts to contact it and sent one final series of recovery commands on Tuesday night, accompanied by one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You.

There was no response, only silence.

Remarkably agile until communication ended last June, Opportunity roamed a record 28 miles around Mars.

Opportunity and its long-dead twin rover, Spirit, found evidence that ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.

PA