NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity threatened by a massive dust storm

NASA engineers last heard coming from Opportunity three days ago, when the rover sent a message coming from its perch on a slope in Perseverance Valley on Mars, a location appropriately named for Opportunity’s current situation.

With the temperature on Mars falling as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, Callas explained how Opportunity must stay warm enough to keep coming from freezing its computer – a fate which NASA believes befell sister rover Spirit in 2010 after getting stuck in sand. Opportunity rolls around the surface, which helps the item keep warm, nevertheless won’t be able to move again until the storm passes.

Callas was optimistic, however, as he thinks the rover will be able to hibernate without freezing. The dust storm brought warmer temperatures with the item as well as the region on Mars can be entering the summer season.

“the item should be able to ride out This specific storm,” he said.

The rover, about the size of a golf cart, landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004. The initial mission was anticipated to last only 0 days nevertheless has right now lasted nearly 15 years.

Opportunity will remain in its “low power mode” until the item can collect more solar energy, Callas said. Then the item will autonomously attempt to wake up as well as try to re-establish communications with its human drivers on Earth.

“By no means are we out of the woods here. This specific storm can be threatening. We have no idea how long the item will last as well as we don’t know what the environment will be like once the item clears,” Callas said.

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