The rover’s run on Mars was initially planned for 3 months. During that prime number mission together with for to a greater extent than than a decade of bonus functioning inward extended missions, Opportunity has returned compelling bear witness well-nigh moisture environments on ancient Mars.
The States of America flag is printed on the aluminum cable guard of the rover’s stone abrasion tool, which is used for grinding away weathered stone surfaces to give away fresh interior cloth for examination. The flag is intended every bit a memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center inward New York. The aluminum was recovered from the site of the Twin Towers inward the weeks next the attacks. Workers at Honeybee Robotics inward lower Manhattan, less than a mile from World Trade Center, were making the stone abrasion tool for Opportunity together with NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, inward September 2001.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a sectionalization of the California Institute of Technology inward Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate inward Washington.