The robot set a huge number of records as it traveled across the Martian surface, eventually travelling some 28 miles and lasting far longer than any other Mars lander. It discovered that water once flowed on the planet and lit up the world with the possibility that it might once have been able to support life.

But in June – after sending messages back to NASA that indicated it was getting dark and its batteries were running low – the rover went silent. A vast dust storm had covered the entire planet and is thought to have covered up the solar panels that provided Opportunity with its power, leading it to shut down.

NASA sent more than 1,000 messages to try and wake up the rover and get it working once again. But its last try was sent on Tuesday evening and went unanswered, leading the space agency to declare the rover dead.

It brought an end to 15 years of exploration over the red planet. Opportunity arrived at the beginning of 2004 alongside an identical twin known as Spirit for a mission that was only intended to last just three months and travel only 1,000 meters.