October 2, 2022

The Opportunity rover was spotted in an image taken from orbit

Since the dust storm began on Mars, the Opportunity rover has not sent any signal to Earth. But NASA specialists at least managed to spot it in images taken from orbit by the MRO probe.

Located on Mars, NASA’s Opportunity rover sent its last message nearly four months ago, when the Red Planet was engulfed by a dust storm thatóra has covered the entire globe. The storm lifted a huge amount of dust from the surface, który effectively obscured the skies across the planet, limiting the sun’s rays reaching the surface and preventing the rover from recharging its batteries.

For this reason, the nearly 15-year-old Opportunity rover went into sleep mode, and in this state it remains to this day. Only the mission clock is running, whichóry regularly wakes up the machine to check power levels. Teamół of NASA is concerned that the rover may not turn on again.

The last signal from Opportunity was received on June 10. Since then, Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers have not made contact with it. Since September 11, they have begun to intensify the frequency of commands sent to Opportunity.

Although the rover is still unresponsive, at least it has been spotted thanks to images sent by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) probe. The HiRISE instrument on board it took a photograph of whichóThe cruise shows the rover on the slope of Perseverance Valley.

The image was taken from a distance of about 267 kilometersóin above the surface of Mars. The marked white square shown here represents an area 47 meters wideów centered on Opportunity.

NASA engineers hope the rover’s solar panels will clean up and the machine will be able to charge the battery enough to resume operation. However, if this does not happen by the end of October, they intend to just listen for the signal alreadyóin from it.

In January 2019, autumn will begin on the Red Planet, and this means stronger winds, whichóre can remove dust from the rover’s solar panels. However, if stronger breezes have not removed the dust from the panels, it could mean the end of it. The condition of the rover is unknown. The storm may have caused a number of other problemsóIn technical, in addition to problems with batteries.

However, the combinedół from NASA remains moderately optimistic. After all, this is Opportunity – rover, whichóry was designed for a 90-day stay on the Red Planet, and it is now nearly 15 years old. It has come out of r defensively beforeómalfunctions and weather.

The Opportunity rover, actually the Mars Exploration Rover-B (MER-B), was launched in July 2003. On the Red Planet landed on January 25 the year póThe. Since then, MER-B has been sending invaluable information about the Mars – Its geological and chemical past. Opportnity has already exceeded its planned mission time by more than fifty times.