Today, NASA is celebrating the monumental achievements of the opportunity. The rover landed on Mars on January 24, 2004, and it had an incredible stretch of good fortune in its decade-and-a-half on the planet.
Unfortunately, Opportunity has been silent for over six months, and it's unclear exactly what its status is. The solar-powered robot was swallowed up by a massive dust storm that engulfed the entirety of Mars last year, and the skies have since cleared it.
The rover entered a low-power default state when the dusty atmosphere is blocked its only source of power. NASA expected the rover would wake up after its solar panels.
"Fifteen years on the surface of Mars Red Planet, "John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. "However, this anniversary can not help but be a bittersweet as at present we do not know the rover's status.
Opportunity last sent a signal back to earth in the middle of June of last year. NASA engineers are not sure why the rover did not wake up after the dust dissipated, and there are plenty of possibilities. The rover's solar panels may have been depleted during the extended downtime.
The rover's solar panels may have been exhausted put in over 1