The hopes of NASA scientists are still hanging to hear from the NASA’s surprisingly long lived Opportunity rover after it snoozed itself in the start of this month. It occurred due to the dust storm on the Mars, which blocked the solar panel of the rover and ceased the batteries from charging. The storm, which has been whirling around the planet for over 15 days now, doubled its size during the previous weekend and now is officiated as a “planet encircling” event or a global event.
The operations of the Opportunity rover are suspended; apart from it, there is another rover on Mars, Curiosity rover which remained immune to the storm. Curiosity did offer a remarkable window for answering some questions—including how frequent are these storms and the reasons for the severity and the long duration of the storms. There are 3 camera-equipped orbiters, who also provide answers to the scientists. Each of these orbiters give a unique view of the dust storms and their behaviors which can help NASA to plan for future human missions & robotic missions. The Martian winters have been another main concern for the Opportunity, but NASA claims to have the system well working as the electronics and batteries keep the rover warm enough to function efficiently. As of now, no one knows when will the kiss of the Sun wake Opportunity up from its long-lasting hibernation.
The Opportunity rover, which was sent to the red planet in 2003, has survived a bigger storm back in 2007, but the atmospheric opacity was not as bad as this storm. The hopes for the Opportunity rover to survive are dimming, but they can still get the data and visuals they need from the Curiosity rover, which was seen in a self-portrait last week in the Gale Crater. Curiosity operates on the nuclear energy, and will continue to study the cost and effects of such storm.
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