NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover, $400M spacecraft, reacts in a Mars dust storm for 2 months



Mars Curiosity rover found on the red planet

The Mars Curiosity rover’s discoveries over the years.

More than two months, there is no sign of NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover. The car-sized space machine, worth a staggering $400 million, signed offline if it is gone within a massive Mars dust storm on June 10.

A team of scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. are eagerly listening for signs of life from the rover. So far, everything they have heard, is the silence.

But as the dust begins to settle, the team is hopeful the Occasion will awaken.


“Since the last contact with the rover … Opportunity is likely to experience a low-power fault and maybe a mission clock fault and now an up-loss error,” NASA explained in a July 31 blog post.

The Opportunity rover, which was initially intended to be only on the Red Planet for a 90-day mission has a number of ground-breaking discoveries throughout his now 15-year journey.

NASA/U. Cornell/JPL

(NASA launched the Opportunity rover to the Red Planet, on July 7, 2003.)

Since leaving the Earth on 7 July 2003, the research vehicle has detected signs of water, explored the inside of the two craters and completed a marathon — the first vehicle to do this on another planet.

But the Likelihood travel is not always a smooth one.

In 2005, the rover lost the use of one of the front wheels and got stuck in a thick pile of sand for about five weeks, according to When it finally managed to move, ran into a sand dune. In 2007, a dust storm hit and allegedly cut the spacecraft’s power to “a dangerously low level.” A month later, then back on and began exploring the Victoria Crater.

Despite the obstacles, the Opportunity is always there managed to survive. But this time, the researchers don’t know for sure what will happen.


“The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet,” NASA said in the beginning of June. “In June 10, covering more than 15.8 million square miles (41 million square kilometers) —about the environment of North America and Russia together. It has blocked so much in the sun, it effectively turned the day into night for the Occasion, which is located near the center of the storm, the inside of Mars’ Perseverance Valley.”

Now, researchers are playing the waiting game.

The government space agency said that the people responsible for the Opportunity will try the communication with the vehicle up to three times per week, in the hope that it will eventually out of sleep mode. However, NASA says the researchers don’t expect it to wake up “until there is a significant reduction of the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.”

Michael Staab, an engineer at JPL, said the Chance of silence is over, adding that there is still much work to do.

“Morale is a bit shaky,” said Staab “This is the first time that they [Likely] stopped to talk with us and does not resume communication as we had expected.”

In the meantime, the researchers will try to stay positive, making a Mars-themed Spotify playlist with “Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go” by Wham!, “Rocket Man” by Elton John, among others — and an office pool to help pass the time.

“It can take weeks — hopefully not months,” Staab told the site. “I wish we had something to share; I wish we had good news. But we continue to listen every day.”

I landed on #Mars six years ago. Celebrating my 6th year anniversary of the landing with the traditional gift of iron… oxide. (Put the red on the Red Planet.)

— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 5, 2018

NASA’s $2.5 billion Curiosity rover is still in good shape, though. The vehicle celebrates its sixth anniversary on Mars on Aug. 5.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

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