Mars’ Longest-Running Rover

There are currently six rovers on Mars. NASA has five rovers while China has one. Sojourne, the first NASA rover dispatched to Mars, landed on Chryse Planitia on July 4, 1997. 

Curiosity and Perseverance are currently the only active rovers out there. Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 while Perseverance arrived in February 2021. Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, Perseverance, and Zhurong are the names of the rovers that have landed on Mars so far.

Rovers are constantly deployed to Mars to investigate the existence of life on the Red Planet. So far, Opportunity is the oldest rover that has been dispatched to Mars. It arrived on Mars in January 2004 and stayed until June 2018. 

It has the size of a golf cart, but its time on Mars came to an end when a massive dust storm shut it down for good.

Initially, Opportunity was only meant to last 90 days. However, at the time of its demise, the rover’s odometer read 45.16 kilometers or 28.06 miles and lasted 14 years.

The most important scientific discovery of Opportunity was the validation of the occurrence of standing liquid water for extended periods of time on Mars. The rover spotted gypsum, hematite, and other rocks that grow in water present on Earth, as well as indications of prehistoric hydrothermal networks.

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