The plight of NASA's Mars Opportunity-Rover sinceon June 10 has caught the attention of stargazers everywhere.
Questions about the status of the rover and whether he can wake up or not from his sleep since the midsummer sky has been darkened by dust. A lack of sunlight meant that the solar-powered rover could not recharge.
Will the little rover call home? When can we expect to hear about it again? Is it … dead? Oh God. Please do not. Come on, little boy.
NASA has provided a fairly solid update on Opportunity's status, building on the one they provided. The location that Opportunity currently occupies, however, is no longer engulfed by the dust storm surrounding the planet, which has plagued Mars since the end of May.
This gives Opportunity the chance to absorb sunlight from its location in the stamina valley of Mars. It is hoped that this sunlight will allow the rover to initiate an automatic recovery – provided it still has the will to move on.
At the moment, NASA can only wait. But a mild time to listen back from the silent Rover was imposed by the mission managers.
"If we stop hearing after 45 days, the team will be forced to conclude that the sun has blocking dust and the Mar cold. It's a kind of debt the Rover is unlikely to recover from," says John Callas , Project Manager at Opportunity, NASA on Friday.
The team will continue to passively listen to the Rover several months after the deadline expires because there is a chance that the dust deposited on Opportunity's solar panels may have become a "dust devil" by a marshaling crew known asis dropped.
These towering weather events were previously shown to blow all the dust opportunity before the solar arrays. If that's the reason Opportunity does not respond, then there's a chance – a small chance – that a Dust Devil can fix it.
The little rover, who does not want to stop, has traveled 28.06 miles since landing on the planet in 2004, for 14 years all around the red soil of Mars. The original mission was only designed for 90 days, and Opportunity has outperformed about 60 times. You can continue to monitor its status on the Mission Update page.
Let's hope we talk soon, Opportunity.
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