For almost 15 years "Opportunity" has been rolling over the red planet – but due to a storm, radio silence has been going on for months. Now the sky seems to be clearing up above Mars. Hope is sprouting up to continue the mission.
While the giant dust storm is slowly sinking above Mars, scientists from the American space agency NASA are still hoping for a sign of life from the rover "Opportunity." "The sun breaks through the mist above the Perseverance valley and soon enough there must be sufficient sunlight for" opportunity "to recharge its batteries," said Nasa manager John Callas. His team will quickly send the Rover through the antennas of the Deep Space Network command signals. "Assuming we hear about Opportunity, we will start the process to get its status and bring it back online."
His team is optimistic – but also prepared for bad news. "If we do not hear anything back after 45 days, the team will inevitably assume that the dust that blocked the sun and the cold of Mars caused a problem that the robber will probably not recover," Callas said. "Then we will no longer actively contact Opportunity, but in the unlikely event that a lot of dust has accumulated on the solar panels, we will passively listen for a few more months."
Since 2004, the rover has been shining with endurance
On June 10, "Opportunity" sent its most recent message. De Rover was launched in July 2003 on board a launcher from the Cape Canaveral spaceport and landed on Mars about six months later, on January 25, 2004. Since then, the approximately 185-pound, six-wheeled Rover rolls over Mars – not without Zipperlein, but with remarkable endurance. After all, the mission was actually only for 90 days. In 2007, Opportunity had survived a much larger storm.