NASA has declared the Mars rover Opportunity dead after 15 years on the red planet, and more than eight months after its last communication with Earth.
The six-wheeled vehicle was built to operate just three months.
The rover reached Mars in 2004, but NASA lost contact with the vehicle previous year following an epic dust storm that enveloped the red planet and prevented sunlight from reaching its surface.
Opportunity set records on the Red Planet.
NASA is saying farewell to its Opportunity rover on Mars after having been out of communication with the robot for about a year.
12 it will issue a final series of recovery commands, on top of more than 1,000 already sent.
NASA launched the Opportunity rover as part of its Mars Exploration Rover program in 2004. They rocketed from Cape Canaveral a month apart in 2003.
"It's just like a loved one who's gone missing, and you keep holding out hope that they will show up and that they're healthy", he said.
"This is a celebration of so many achievements", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told team members gathered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for what amounted to a wake for the intrepid rover. It was supposed to last for 90 days.so here we are 15 years later.
The experience inspired her to pursue a career at JPL; Fraeman is now a deputy project scientist on the Mars exploration rover project, and works with Opportunity nearly daily.
Opportunity's mission has led to many discoveries about the Red Planet, but perhaps the most exciting was when Opportunity found evidence that Mars once had water and supported conditions for sustaining microbial life. The Martian skies eventually cleared enough for sunlight to reach the rover's solar panels, but there was still no response.
Engineers speculate the rover's internal clock may have become scrambled during the prolonged outage, disrupting the rover's sleep cycle and draining on-board batteries.
Scientists consider this the end of an era, now that Opportunity and Spirit are both gone.
Now it's up to Curiosity and the newly arrived InSight lander to carry on the legacy, he noted, along with spacecraft in orbit around Mars. "I heard this morning that we had not heard back", said Zurbuchen, explaining that the "beloved" rover remains silent.
"Mars is now part of our neighbourhood", he added.