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Mars rover Opportunity engulfed by dust storm


Posted on Monday, 11 June, 2018 | Comment icon 85 comments

Opportunity will need to wait out the storm. Image Credit: NASA
The long-lived rover has halted its science work while it waits out a massive dust storm on Mars.
Opportunity is certainly no stranger to the extreme weather conditions that exist on the Red Planet having been trundling across its dusty surface for almost 15 years.

This latest dust storm, which is one of several endured by the rover during its time on Mars, is not the largest it has seen but is still significant enough to warrant hunkering down.

On Mars, dust storms can last anywhere from a few days to several months.

"As soon as the orbiter team saw how close the storm was to Opportunity, they notified the rover's team to begin preparing contingency plans," NASA wrote.

"In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned."

During the storm, the rover, which relies on solar power to stay alive, will need to conserve as much energy as possible as its solar panels will no longer function effectively.

The biggest concern is that if it gets too cold, the rover could fail completely.

"There is a risk to the rover if the storm persists for too long and Opportunity gets too cold while waiting for the skies to clear," NASA wrote.

This was the fate of Opportunity's twin rover Spirit which got stuck back in 2010.

With any luck however the storm will pass and Opportunity will be back up and running in no time.

Source: Space.com | Comments (85)

Tags: Mars, Rover

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #76 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 30 October, 2018, 20:45
That's rather the problem. The dust storm ended a month ago and the rover hasn't emerged squeaky clean.
Comment icon #77 Posted by pallidin on 31 October, 2018, 3:03
What, you think Martian dust doesn't have "sticky" chemical dynamics? Think again.
Comment icon #78 Posted by flabbins on 31 October, 2018, 12:50
All that money and time and they forgat to kit it out with wipers!
Comment icon #79 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned on 31 October, 2018, 13:06
It was a joke which came from videos like these..
Comment icon #80 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned on 31 October, 2018, 13:13
I believe what we are told, is not as truthful as it should be. Especially when those 'truth tellers' have their paws in the never ending tax payer cookie jar. 
Comment icon #81 Posted by pallidin on 1 November, 2018, 1:07
What do you feel is not "truth"? NASA and Company are extremely professional organizations comprised, in part, of people like you or I. Where is the "lie"?
Comment icon #82 Posted by ChrLzs on 1 November, 2018, 2:10
Isn't it even more strange, though, 'TruthbeDamned' and 'flabbins', that those of us who are really into space travel and understand why/how spacecraft are designed, think that Opportunity was in fact, very, very well designed for its purpose?  How did Nasa convince us, do you think? There are plenty of serious engineering and space forums out there - do you see anyone other than the odd Conspiracy Theorist without much knowledge of either Mars or solar panel design and operation, complaining? And finally, and most importantly, how long has that rover lasted on Mars? (Hint - 5,250 days) How lo... [More]
Comment icon #83 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned on 2 November, 2018, 11:06
My first post was not even hinting at or directed at the rover, or any object made, designed, thrown, or exploded by NASA. So you may get off your 'engineer high horse' and go parade it somewhere else. I never wanted to be a chemist or engineer due to the hubris, not for its ease in obtaining a degree. I feel NASA has hidden things from the public, how much? We may never know. Even the Smithsonian buries artifacts deep into their warehouses that may disrupt the narrative of the past. They try to say they do this so the people, religions, and civilizations do not get disrupted. The fact that th... [More]
Comment icon #84 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 November, 2018, 11:43
People, before this gets too far off topic and down the well trodden "are NASA liars" path may I remind you that we have a forum for conspiracy theories and such a conversation would be better served there. Thank you.
Comment icon #85 Posted by It's Just An Opinion on 3 November, 2018, 3:20
It didn't have a passport to enter Mars so it's under arrest and pleads the fifth. 


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