Opportunity and other rovers have gathered data that has shaped a wider understanding of the planet Mars. With NASA having ambitions on the human mission to Mars in the coming decades, the information will be indispensable in helping have an insight of what to expect when they land on the alien planet.
"Fluid-curved gullies on Mars have been seen from orbit since the 1970's, but none had been examined up close on the surface before, "said Steve Squyres of Cornel University who is an Opportunity principal investigator.
The mission faces challenges such as the nasty storms on the planet which cover almost the whole planet. Opportunity is also an old rover and it memory storage flash drive does not work anymore. This means scientists have to seam data immediately or risk losing it for good. If the storm gets as worse as it did in 2007 Opportunity may not pull through.
"Milestones like this are reminders of the historic achievements made possible by the dedicated people entrusted to build and operate this national asset for exploring Mars," said John Callas, an Opportunity project manager of NASA's Propulsion Lab.