The video is compiled from images captured by the rover's Hazard-Avoidance cameras (Hazcams) since the rover landed on Mars in January 2004 to April 2015. Over 8 minutes, the rover can be seen exploring the plains and craters across 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) of Meridiani Planum. To the left is the Hazcam view and to the right is a map of Opportunity's journey.
As an added extra, the audio has been derived from data transmitted by Opportunity's accelerometer - the louder the sound, the rougher the terrain. Interestingly, during the rover's drive over sandy terrain, the sound appears muffled, almost like the sound of walking on fresh snow.
NEWS: Rover Champion: Opportunity Rolls a Martian Marathon
The fact that Opportunity is still roving and carrying out groundbreaking science on Mars over a decade after landing is nothing short of mind-blowing, considering its primary mission was slated to last only 3 months. This is a space engineering feat that continues to amaze every day that passes.
However, in recent months, NASA's mission team have been wrestling with a recurring issue focusing on Opportunity's memory.
In 2014, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (in Pasadena, Calif.) reported that the rover was experiencing "amnesia" problems; mission data was not being written to the rover's non-volatile memory. This had the effect of triggering random resets and the loss of telemetry when the rover shuts down at night.
ANALYSIS: Bad Memories: Mars Rover Suffers More Amnesia Events
There was hope that a software fix uploaded earlier this year would solve the problem (the fix would avoid the use of a corrupt databank in the rover's flash memory), but the amnesia events have continued, forcing mission controllers to only use Opportunity's volatile memory, downloading mission data at the end of each working day, thereby bypassing the flash memory.
"Opportunity can continue to accomplish science goals in this mode," said John Callas, Opportunity Project Manager at JPL. "Each day we transmit data that we collect that day."
"Flash memory is a convenience but not a necessity for the rover," Callas added in a news release on Monday. "It's like a refrigerator that way. Without it, you couldn't save any leftovers. Any food you prepare that day you would have to either eat or throw out. Without using flash memory, Opportunity needs to send home the high-priority data the same day it collects it, and lose any lower-priority data that can't fit into the transmission."
VIDEO: Mars Rover Opportunity Nearing Marathon Finish Line
Currently, Opportunity is located in "Marathon Valley" on the rim of the 14 mile-wide Endeavour Crater (it has been exploring the edge of Endeavour since 2011) and mission managers are planning on exploring this scientifically interesting valley for the next few months, taking advantage of a sun-facing slope.
From orbital reconnaissance, Marathon Valley is known to contain clay minerals that the rover can study up-close, hopefully revealing more detail about how those clays formed and under what ancient wet conditions. Combined with data being collected by NASA's Curiosity rover in Gale Crater (and information gathered by Opportunity's sister rover Spirit that was declared lost in 2010), these exciting surface missions continue to provide critical information about the Red Planet's potentially habitable past.