Opportunity has been silent for months after a global dust storm on Mars, and a depressing deadline is nearly upon NASA’s long-silent Opportunity Mars rover.
The final planned attempts to rouse Opportunity, which has been in a deep sleep since last June when it tried to outlast a Martian dust storm, will come late this evening, NASA officials said as reported by Space.com.
The agency also announced today that it will update Opportunity’s status on 13th February 2019, during a 2 PM. EST (1900 GMT) press conference featuring NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, agency science chief Thomas Zurbuchen, Opportunity project manager John Callas, mission principal investigator Steve Squyres and other heavy hitters.
The golf-cart-size Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, a few weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down in a different part of the planet. Both solar-powered rovers embarked on 90-day surface missions to search for signs of past water activity and both were incredibly successful.
NASA didn’t declare Spirit dead until 2011, and Opportunity was going strong until a global dust storm rose up around it late May 2018. The swirling dust blocked sunlight from reaching Opportunity, which fell silent on June 10.
There has been hope that this “active listening” campaign could produce results even after so many months of rover silence. Hopefully, it will blast off the dust out of the solar panels and bring back the old Opportunity Rover to life again!