Farewell to Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity – Science Weekly podcast

On 25 January 2004, a robot rover crashed through the atmosphere of Mars and bounced to a standstill on the surface of the red planet. The moment was greeted with scenes of jubilation as Nasa scientists celebrated the successful landing of their second rover, named Opportunity.

The Opportunity rover far surpassed original expectations. It managed to send data back to Earth for nearly 15 years, significantly longer than the three months it was supposed to survive.

Last month, Nasa declared the 15-year mission of the veteran Mars rover finally over. Opportunity last made contact with Earth in late 2018, after being caught in a global dust storm.

This week, Nicola talks to the project manager for the Mars exploration rovers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and the deputy project scientist, who decided to become a planetary scientist after seeing Opportunity landing all those years ago. She also chats to the scientist leading the team building the cameras for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, recently named Rosalind Franklin, which is set to be launched in the summer of 2020.

Opportunity, Nasa's longest-running rover on Mars, was pronounced dead in late 2018, 15 years after it landed on the red planet

Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/PA

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