After 15 years, Mars' Opportunity Rover was pronounced dead

Sand dunes are seen on Mars in this image released by NASA

Sand dunes are seen on Mars in this image released by NASA

Neither rover was created to endure extreme weather - unlike Nasa's nuclear-powered Curiosity rover, which continues to trawl Mars for information. Those attempts followed a major dust storm that left Mars' skies dark, and Opportunity unable to access solar energy.

NASA held a press conference chronicling its life and going into even further detail on why Opportunity is officially being let go.

NASA has finally plugged the plug on its Mars Opportunity rover, which has been silent on the Red Planet's surface for eight months.

It covered 28 miles in its working lifespan -more than any other rover ever placed on the Red Planet, and confirmed scientists' theories that water had once flowed on Mars.

While some NASA spacecraft have endured for longer than 15 years, those are orbiter or flyby missions-they're not encountering the sheer number of hazards Opportunity did on the ground.

Despite NASA engineers' best efforts to get a response via radio channels, its last communication was on June 10, 2018 after more than 600 attempts since August.

"Godspeed, Opportunity", tweeted Keri Bean, who had the "privilege" of sending the final message to the robot.

A dust storm that swept the planet in May 2018 is suspected to have blocked the machine from receiving sun rays to charge its solar panels.

Opportunity was created to operate for just 90 days on the martian surface but far outlived even the most ardent supporter's wildest expectations, roving 28 miles across the surface of Mars for more than 14 years.

Artist's illustration of NASA's Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars in January 2004 with the aid of a parachute and airbags.

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By the end of its life, Opportunity's costs were ballooning to $500,000 a month, and NASA scientists were finding ingenious new ways to keep the rover going.

Associate NASA Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen began the event's commentary: "I stand here, surrounded by the team...it's an emotional time", he began.

The rover's greatest gift, according to Professor Squyres, was providing a geologic record at two distinct places where water once flowed on Mars, and describing the conditions there that may have supported possible ancient life.

"We found.evidence that yes, there was liquid water", says Fraeman.

The golf cart-size Opportunity outlived its twin, the Spirit rover, by several years.

On Wednesday, Opportunity's team bid her farewell while looking to the foundations the mission laid. "It is therefore that I'm standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude that I declare the Opportunity mission as complete".

From the beginning, Opportunity exceeded expectations and set records. It's the accomplished exploration and phenomenal discoveries.

Mission team members have been trying to rouse the rover since June and listening for any possible signals.

And one day, NASA hopes rover tracks will be alongside human footprints on the Red Planet.

"It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our fearless astronauts walk on the surface of Mars", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, according to an announcement on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website.

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