Earth to Rover: you can do it! – knowledge

Mars robot is silent after a dust storm. Researchers want to wake him up

Pasadena. Every day scientists hope for news from Mars again. More than two months have passed without a sign of life from the robber "Opportunity". On June 10, the last message from the Mars robot arrived at the Space Center in Pasadena, California. Then a gigantic dust storm covered the planet. Since then: silence.

"This is the first time that Opportunity has stopped talking to us and has not restarted when we expected it," said engineer Michael Staab of the American space agency Nasa on the portal. To cheer up, NASA researchers in their control center play a matching "Wake Up Song" every morning: Wham & # 39; s "Wake Me Up Before Go Go", for example "Dust In The Wind" from Kansas or "Here Comes The Sun "from the Beatles.

Here is & # 39; Opportunity & # 39; actually known for its stamina. The rover's mission was scheduled for 90 days, while the robot has been rolling over the Red Planet for almost 15 years. Opportunity began in July 2003 from the Cape Canaveral spaceport and landed on Mars about half a year later. Since then, the 185-pound, six-wheeled rover on Mars has been rolling – not without Zipperlein, but with remarkable endurance.

In 2007, Opportunity had survived a much larger storm. The resulting cold probably led to the estimation of NASA scientists to the loss of an identical twin sister "Spirit" a few years later. For the other Mars missions, such as the probes orbiting the planet, the nuclear powered rover "Curiosity" or the lander "InSight" that is currently flying to Mars, dust storms are not a threat.

"Opportunity" however uses solar energy to recharge the batteries – and the storm hardly had any sunshine anymore. That is why the robber went into sleep mode, from which he slowly woke up. The researchers constantly measure how much sunlight has reached the surface and continue sparking. So far: no answer. Fans all over the world send virtual postcards "Opportunity". "We love you and we know you will go through this", says on a map. "You can do it!"

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