NASA Fears They Lost The Opportunity Rover Forever


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Although NASA fears the Opportunity Rover might be stuck on the red planet forever, the Agency still does not want to give up hopes that the rover might wake and finally phone home.

Image: NASA’s Opportunity Rover is stuck on Mars and it can’t phone home. This small dot is the rover, covered in Martian sand. Image Credit: NASA.

A massive dust storm on Mars caused the rover to lose contact with Earth and things have not looked good since then. Opportunity, which touched down on the red planet in January 2004, contacted Earth for the last time on June 10.

A powerful dust storm that spread across the planet blocked the sun and deprived the rover of the solar energy it feeds on, putting it in low power mode, and causing the rover to become unresponsive.

In August of this year, NASA gave Opportunity, the most loving little Mars rover out there, 45 days to phone home.

Image: Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam) took the component images for this view from a position outside Endeavor Crater during the span of June 7 to June 19, 2017. Image Credit: NASA

That time frame has come and gone, and NASA fears the rover may not phone back ever, although there still hopes out there that the rover will spring back to life.

But NASA has once again made the call to not abandon hope, and wait for weather conditions on Mars to maybe help the rover send signals home.

In mid-October, the Space Agency explained mission specialists were hopeful strengthening winds on Mars would blow away the dust that may be interfering with Opportunity’s ability to get back in contact.