Sunday, December 16, 2018
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Concerns grow as Opportunity remains silent


Posted on Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 | Comment icon 17 comments

Could this be the end for the Opportunity rover ? Image Credit: NASA
It is looking increasingly likely that the recent Martian dust storm may have silenced the rover for good.
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.

Sadly, however, the most recent dust storm may have been too much for even it to handle.

Back in May, NASA shifted Opportunity into low-power mode to help it weather the storm, but now, several months later, the space agency has been struggling to wake the rover up again.

The last time it checked in, it reported dangerously low temperatures. The battery in particular, which needs to be kept warm to prevent damage, is highly vulnerable to the freezing conditions on Mars.

Its solar panels may also be covered in so much dust that it cannot get the power it needs to wake up.

"This is the first time she has stopped talking to us and not resumed communication when we expected," said Michael Staab of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

On the plus side, it is possible that the rover's solar panels may only be partially covered in dust and that it is simply taking longer to recharge than expected.

The longer it takes to signal back however, the less likely it is to ever do so.

Source: Extreme Tech | Comments (17)

Tags: Opportunity, Mars

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by fred_mc on 15 August, 2018, 18:58
Well, when a dust storm is approaching, you have to make sure that there is enough power in the battery before entering hibernation mode, so that the wipers will work after waking up from hibernation mode.
Comment icon #9 Posted by fred_mc on 15 August, 2018, 19:04
Yes, but the wipers are supposed to be used extremely rarely, like after a dust storm. You could also have another mechanism than wipers to clean the solar panels, like blowing air on the panels to get rid of the dust.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Bunzilla on 15 August, 2018, 19:39
The Mars Rovers were... Erm. Considerably more expensive than a car though, to be fair. :P I had the same thoughts after one of the first dust storms they weathered; why doesn't they have a way to cover and or clean their solar panels? That seems like it'd be a pretty important feature to have on such a dusty planet prone to dust storms. I would say either allowing a rover to tilt its solar panels to let the dust slide off (which would have the added benefit of letting it tilt them to catch more sun), or blow them off. Maybe both. And I wonder if they insulated the batteries? It would be a sha... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by pallidin on 15 August, 2018, 21:14
IF it is over, it's been a good ride, dear rover. Bravo on your extraordinarily extended mission. My God, I'm talking like it was my pet dog. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by pallidin on 15 August, 2018, 21:15
It just needs a belly rub...
Comment icon #13 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 15 August, 2018, 22:14
It just needs some encouragement and positive vibes.  
Comment icon #14 Posted by paperdyer on 16 August, 2018, 19:39
I'm sorry.  Was it only driven to church on Sundays?
Comment icon #15 Posted by paperdyer on 16 August, 2018, 19:42
Hopefully its run isn't over. But this brings to mind a new business opportunity.  Portable Rover washers which go to the Rover when it can't come to the washer. Of course a waster source could be an issue. Maybe we can just air blast the sand off.
Comment icon #16 Posted by South Alabam on 16 August, 2018, 19:57
It was only supposed to last 3 months, and wind self cleaned the dust off rover.
Comment icon #17 Posted by pallidin on 17 August, 2018, 20:24
I'm crying. It's dieing. I've bonded with that thing. It kept going and going and going. A real trooper. This hurts. Oh for God's sake, what is wrong with me?! Just a hunk of mobile composites controlled from Earth via orbiter. But, but, it had feelings. If it had a speaker it would be saying "Mommy, Daddy!!!" So heart-wrenching. Damn, I'm messed-up.    


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

6347865
268546
178354

 
'One of a kind' tomb unearthed in Egypt
12-16-2018
A remarkably well preserved 4,400-year-old tomb has been discovered in the ancient city of Saqqara.
Real-life 'shrink ray' can reduce 3D structures
12-16-2018
Scientists have discovered a way to reduce 3D objects to a mere one thousandth of their original size.
Virgin Galactic has reached the edge of space
12-16-2018
Sir Richard Branson's dream of sending tourists up in to space is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
Jennifer Aniston once lived in a haunted house
12-15-2018
During a recent interview, the 'Friends' actress explained that she had been forced to call in a 'ghost whisperer'.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
The logistics of climbing Everest
Posted 12-16-2018 | 2 comments
A look at what it really takes to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
 
Humboldt squid takes a bite
Posted 12-10-2018 | 1 comment
A look at what happened when Steve Backshall met a rather large Humboldt squid.
 
Rainbow jelly tennis
Posted 12-3-2018 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys attempt another ridiculous slow motion experiment involving jelly.
 
Progress launch timelapse
Posted 11-24-2018 | 0 comments
A look at the recent launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft.
 
The unique wildlife of the Cairngorms
Posted 11-16-2018 | 1 comment
A look at the breathtaking snowy wilds of Scotland's Cairngorm Mountains.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
My name is whispered
11-9-2018 | Wish not to disclose
 
Strange numbers on arm
11-9-2018 | Charlotte, NC
 
Two experiences
10-31-2018 | Pryor, OK
 
Various experiences
10-31-2018 | Californiia
 
A transparent figure
10-31-2018 | Nigeria
 
My childhood haunting
10-29-2018 | Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Orange, hovering, atom-like figure
10-25-2018 | West kelowna
 
I saw a strange man
10-25-2018 | Croatia
 
Spontaneous exorcisms
10-25-2018 | Canada
 
Two children who didn't age
10-24-2018 | United States New York
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ