NASA Mars rover weathers monster dust storm

13 June, 2018, 20:58 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Уфолог заявил о захороненном гуманоиде на Марсе

Opportunity's team has requested additional communications coverage from NASA's Deep Space Network, a global system of antennas that talks to all the agency's deep space probes.

Though the storm didn't have any direct effect on the rover, the dust swirling around did create a slight problem for the machine. But Curiosity's discoveries are cause for some optimism in this regard, NASA officials said. "The rover needs to balance low levels of charge in its battery with sub-freezing temperatures".

The rover has proved hardier than expected by lasting almost 15 years, despite being designed for a 90-day mission.

NASA has suspended science operations on its fearless little Mars rover, Opportunity, as a huge dust storm rages over its location in the planet's Perseverance Valley.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter first noticed the storm building back on June 1. Further, the officials stated, "In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned". Till Friday, the storm has covered more than 7 million square miles of Mars. It increased the atmospheric opacity in the region, creating a smog-like situation where most of the sunlight gets blocked out.

This storm has affected the Opportunity's solar panels, and it uses to recharge its batteries and helps to give power to the heaters which allow the rover to function in the extremely cold conditions of Mars.


NASA noticed a significant drop in the rover's power levels on June 6, and has entered crisis mode. The rover has now been shifted to minimal operations in a bid to conserve energy, while still providing just enough electricity to run its heaters.

"It's not unlike running a vehicle in the winter so that the cold doesn't sap its battery charge", NASA writes in a release.

NASA's MER-B is threatened by vast dust storm that may put the Opportunity rover into vocational hazard.

"Ultimately, the storm subsided and Opportunity prevailed", NASA said. It landed on Mars in 2004 for a planned 90-day mission and is still going strong all these years later.

The hope is bolstered even more with the recent discovery of organic compounds on Mars by the Curiosity rover.

This storm is bad, but Opportunity is made of hardy stuff. On Mars, dust storms can crop up suddenly, NASA said in a statement, but it could take weeks or even months for them to subside. These storms actively lift dust high into the atmosphere which in turn blocks sunlight. During the time, the rover stopped phoning in to NASA to save power, defying NASA scientists who had anxious if the rover would be able to power its vital survival heaters with the low power levels caused by that dust storm.

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