Opportunity Recovery Mission Planned by NASA

Opportunity Recovery Mission Planned by NASA

NASA has planned a recovery mission in order to find out the fate of the Opportunity rover. A giant dust storm forced the rover to enter hibernation, and scientists were unable to awaken the dormant rover as of now.

The global dust storm enveloped the entirety of Mars in thick clouds, almost completely blocking sunrays from reaching the surface. Opportunity is powered by an array of solar panels, and the lack of sunlight rendered the rover inert. Curiosity, which is powered by a nuclear core, has faced little to no issue.

The storm has diminished overall, but Opportunity did not come back online, even if there are no traces of storm for almost 3,000 miles around the last known location of the rover.

Should Opportunity respond to the efforts, a status analysis will begin, according to a declaration offered by John Callas, Opportunity Project Manager.

The decision to limit the attempt to 45 days has attracted criticism from the community. The decision has been defended by former project manager and Opportunity driver Mike Seibert. He argued that a similar mission, in order to recover Spirit, twin of Opportunity lasted for 10 months with no success.

It was determined that if the rover cannot be contacted in 45 days, it may have suffered critical damage, which may mean that it cannot be repaired.

Opportunity and Spirit reached the Red Planet in January 2004. Both rovers were paned to work for approximately 3 months and they exceeded the expectations. Spirit went offline in 2010, but Opportunity continued its mission and it is still considered active until proven otherwise. During the span of time it spent on Mars the rover offered significant insight about the planet and how it looks, geological surveys and other feed-back.

It remains to be seen if the mission will succeed but it would be great if the rover could be saved.


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