As Dust Clears, NASA Spots Possibly Dead Opportunity Rover From Space

George Dvorsky yesterday at 19:07. 0 comments
So Lonely Opportunity Nasa Opportunity Rover Mars Mars Exploration Science Astronomy

It’s been 107 agonizing days since NASA last heard from Opportunity, raising fears that the 14-year-old rover has finally expired after being battered by a massive dust storm. The Martian probe may be quiet, but a new photo taken of Opportunity from space is providing some much-needed solace.

If you look carefully, you can see a tiny white dot in the center of the white square. That’s Opportunity. The photo was taken on September 20, 2018, by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The satellite was just over 165 miles (267 kilometers) above the surface when it took this shot. The square highlighting Opportunity is just over a half-mile across.

So there it is, the hibernating Martian probe. The photo doesn’t tell us much, other than the fact that the rover isn’t completely buried under dust. Actually, the relatively clear view of Opportunity is a sure sign that the global dust storm, which peaked in June , is truly dissipating.

At one point, the dust storm extended across the entire circumference of Mars, making it a truly global event. In the area where Opportunity was working, Perseverance Valley, the dust blocked sunlight from reaching the surface, which was bad news for the solar-powered probe. Opportunity had no choice but to put itself into hibernation mode, in hopes of preserving enough energy for a reboot once conditions improved. Sadly, and quite alarming, Opportunity has stayed quiet despite the waning storm.

On September 11, NASA began to increase the frequency of commands sent to the idle rover. Nothing has worked so far, but there’s reason for optimism, as NASA explains in a press release:

The tau—a measurement of how much sunlight reaches the surface—over Opportunity was estimated to be a little higher than 10 during some points during the dust storm. The tau has steadily fallen in the last several months. On Thursday, Sept. 20, when this image was taken, tau was estimated to be about 1.3 by MRO’s Mars Color Imager camera.

At this point, there isn’t much more that NASA can do but continue to ping the probe and wait. Sad as its demise would be, however, Opportunity has endured 60 times longer than expected. If the rover is truly dead, it would represent the end of a wildly successful mission.

Correction 7pm, 10/14/18: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that NASA put Opportunity into hibernation mode. NASA clarified to Gizmodo that it believes the rover put itself into hibernation mode. We regret the error.

[NASA]

HighResolutionMusic.com - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 Katy Perry

365 flac

Katy Perry. 2019. Writer: Zedd;Katy Perry;Caroline Ailin;Corey Sanders;Daniel Davidsen;Cutfather;Peter Wallevik.
2 5 Seconds Of Summer

Who Do You Love flac

5 Seconds Of Summer. 2019. Writer: Andrew Taggart;Talay Riley;Oak;Sean Douglas;Luke Hemmings;Calum Hood;Ashton Irwin;Michael Clifford;Trevorious;Zaire Koalo.
3 Brooks

Better When You're Gone flac

Brooks. 2019. Writer: David Guetta;Emma Lov Block;Ido Zmishlany;Jackson Foote;Jeremy Dussolliet;Brooks.
4 DEAMN

Happy flac

DEAMN. 2019.
5 Alec Benjamin

Let Me Down Slowly flac

Alec Benjamin. 2019. Writer: Alec Benjamin;Sir Nolan;Michael Pollack.
6 Ariana Grande

7 Rings flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Ariana Grande;Richard Rodgers;TBHits;Njomza;Michael "Mikey" Foster;Kaydence;Tayla Parx;Scootie;Oscar Hammerstein II;Victoria Monét.
7 Bruno Mars

Please Me flac

Bruno Mars. 2019. Writer: J. White Did It;DJ White Shadow;Philip Lawrence;Bruno Mars;Cardi B.
8 Avril Lavigne

Dumb Blonde flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Mitch Allan;Bonnie McKee;Nicki Minaj;Avril Lavigne.
9 Halsey

11 Minutes flac

Halsey. 2019. Writer: Matt Schwartz;Halsey;Dominic Harrison;Brynley Plumb.
10 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

Selfish flac

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. 2019. Writer: Victor Thell;Michael Thivaios;Maria Smith;Jeff Porcaro;Dimitri Thivaios;David Paich;Dan Book;Will Grands;ANGEMI.
11 Mike Perry

Way Too High flac

Mike Perry. 2019. Writer: Dimitri Vangelis;Andreas Wiman;Sabrina Bernstein;Pär Westerlund;Mike Perry.
12 Ariana Grande

Needy flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Tayla Parx;TBHits;Victoria Monét;Ariana Grande.
13 CNCO

Pretend flac

CNCO. 2019. Writer: Luis Daniel Nieves;Diane Warren;Britten Newbill;Rykeyz;Lucky Daye.
14 Icona Pop

This Is How We Party flac

Icona Pop. 2019. Writer: R3hab;Icona Pop.
15 Lauv

I'm So Tired flac

Lauv. 2019. Writer: Lauv;Michael Pollack;Troye Sivan;Leland;OZGO.
16 Ariana Grande

Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Kandi;Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs;Max Martin;ILYA;Savan Kotecha;Ariana Grande.
17 Afrojack

Ferrari flac

Afrojack. 2019.
18 Normani

Dancing With A Stranger flac

Normani. 2019. Writer: Mikkel S. Eriksen;Tor Hermansen;Jimmy Napes;Normani;Sam Smith.
19 Bebe Rexha

Last Hurrah flac

Bebe Rexha. 2019. Writer: Andrew Wells;Nick Long;Lauren Christy;Bebe Rexha.
20 Armin Van Buuren

Lonely For You flac

Armin Van Buuren. 2019. Writer: Armin Van Buuren;Bonnie McKee;Eden XO;Benno De Goeij.

Suggested posts

Other George Dvorsky's posts

Language