NASA’s Opportunity Rover Died in a Dust Storm, Scientists fearing

A dreading threat is burdening NASA’s scientists. They think its Opportunity rover might have died as the rover was totally covered in a massive dust storm which had blocked the sunlight reaching to its solar panels.  The rover went into hibernation in June 2018.

Opportunity rover sent the last message to Earth on 10th June 2018 as the rover was entirely grappled in a planet-wide storm in the western rim of Perseverance valley. The dust storm had blocked rover’s solar panels and the rover remained unable to charge its batteries.

After the storm was toned down and skies in the Perseverance get a glass like appearance, the rover stopped responding and not communicated a single message since the incident. Mission’s principal investigator Prof. Steven Squyres was speaking to the media, while he said that he hasn’t surrendered yet. This could be the end. Opportunity’s death seems honorable if the storm smashed the rover for good purpose, he added.

Even at the last moment, NASA engineers for Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California were struggling to transmit commands to the 15-year-old probe to push it to communicate with Earth.

NASA said that it will transmit new commands to rover over the next several weeks to determine low-likelihood events that could be prevented from transmitting. Project manager at JPL said that the team has to utilize several techniques to contact the rover. In the last seven months, we have tried to contact the rover for as many as 600 times, scientists reported.

Until we get any message from the Opportunity and facing the possibility of decreasing chances, we will continually pursue to render efforts that could push near to the rover.

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Sidney has been part of the core team since last 3 years. He covers news related to science and technology.

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