Mars Opportunity rover is in danger of dying from a dust storm

Huge Dust Storm on Mars Hits NASA's Opportunity Rover

That does not mean that NASA will risk losing its longest-working explorer to a dust storm though. In 2020, the next big mission will be launched, which will be able to send "pinkie-sized samples of Mars" back to by analyzed in laboratories on Earth.

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

NASA announced on Friday the suspension of science operations for the Opportunity rover while it waits for the storm to blow over.

As per a statement by NASA officials, they said that when they have spotted the storm, they notified the rover's team to get prepared for the contingency plans and in some days the storm has ballooned. Rovers like Opportunity rely on sunlight to charge their solar panels and batteries.

Like all Martian spacecraft, Opportunity uses solar panels to keep its batteries charged. The storm quickly grew to cover over 7 million square miles (18 million square kilometers) and swept across Perseverance Valley where Opportunity is located. This led NASA to compare the situation on the red planet as similar to "an extremely smoggy day that blots out sunlight".

Trump renews attack on OPEC ahead of group's production meeting
Since early 2017, OPEC and other oil-producing countries have agreed to reduce supply in a bid to bolster oil prices. Dutch bank ING, however, said some OPEC members would "struggle to push production back to October 2016 levels".

NASA says that rover's power levels had dropped significantly by June 6, requiring it to be in a near-dormant state.

Three different types of organic molecules were discovered when the rover dug just 5cm into roughly 3.5-billion-year-old mudstone, a fine-grained sedimentary rock, at Gale crater, apparently the site of a large lake when ancient Mars was warmer and wetter than it is today.

"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. The officials further said that such storms can arrive suddenly and last up to weeks or months.

NASA's MER-B is threatened by vast dust storm that may put the Opportunity rover into vocational hazard. Despite this, both rovers have vastly exceeded expectations: they were only created to last 90 days each. NASA is involved as well; for example, the American space agency is providing key components for the rover's main astrobiology instrument, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer.

The good news is Opportunity made contact with NASA over the weekend to confirm that it's still operational. The rover's initial mission timeline was just 90 days, but it's now approaching its 15th full year of operation. There's much less light available to recharge the batteries this time, so the Opportunity team is hoping for a shorter storm. "That wind kicks up yet more dust, creating a feedback loop that NASA scientists still seek to understand".

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Measure to split California into 3 states qualifies for November ballot
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:39
The CAL3 initiative has gathered 600,000 signatures, 235,000 more than required to qualify for the ballot. Critics of the initiative say having three Californias would actually diminish the power of Democrats.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival charged with duping customers again
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:25
He says the 26-year-old McFarland went on to sell fraudulent tickets totaling nearly $100,000 to various events. According to The Associated Press , Billy McFarland was arrested earlier today on more fraud charges.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Slovenia's Luka Doncic to remain in National Basketball Association draft
Jun 13, 2018 - 20:06
If the Suns do hang on to the No. 1 pick, it's expected that they'll select the seven-foot, 260-pound Ayton. If so, this is the trade package I would explore if I am the Clippers.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Disney releases teaser trailer for Tim Burton’s live-action ‘Dumbo’
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:43
Farrell, 42, plays Holt Farrier, seen above in an exclusive first look with Eva Green , who plays aerial acrobat Colette Marchant. There he meets the baby elephant Dumbo , who is mocked for his giant ears but is clearly destined for great things.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Thomas cements Dauphine pole as Bilbao wins penultimate stage
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:42
For his part, Bardet denied any wrongdoing, insisting they were only riding hard to win the stage. The Astana rider completed the route, which started in Frontenex, in a time of 3:34:11.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Saudi-led forces begin Yemen assault
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:39
Yemen's biggest port, Hodeidah is the lifeline for the majority of Yemen's population, which lives in Houthi territory. The Houthis deny they are Iranian pawns and say their revolt aims to target corruption and defend Yemen from invaders.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Singapore agreement will end Cold War, S. Korea president says
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:38
The KCNA news agency says Mr Trump made the promise after pledging to end joint military exercises with South Korea. The US secretary of state has said Washington will demand "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tick Bites 5-Year-Old Girl’s Head; She Woke Up Paralyzed
Jun 13, 2018 - 19:32
Griffin called her husband, who told her to immediately remove the tick, put it in a plastic bag, and rush Kailyn to the hospital. It's more common in children than it is adults! Unlike many other bites, tick bites don't usually hurt or itch at first.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Grab drives off with US$1bn Toyota investment
Jun 13, 2018 - 18:40
It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day. Grab operates across Asia and agreed to acquire Uber's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google Home can now handle up to three commands at once
Jun 13, 2018 - 18:07
Any combination of up to three queries can be spoked to Google Home, as long as the word "and" is used between the queries. But as promised at I/O, Home can now understand the more natural "turn on the lights in the living room and the kitchen".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top What Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump's body language reveals
Jun 13, 2018 - 17:57
He mainly looked down, listening, as Trump spoke, but did look up at several times during the conversation. Trump places his hand on Kim's back, nearly shoving him into the room.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Edmonton likely to host matches, as North America wins bid
Jun 13, 2018 - 17:15
The U.S. government's ongoing investigation into corruption in global soccer rattled FIFA's old guard in its halls of power. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he will attend the World Cup as a guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sterling rises as PM May wins parliament vote on Brexit
Jun 13, 2018 - 16:41
May's been resisting the demand because she doesn't want her hands to be tied during the talks. If May is defeated by a wide margin her position as Prime Minister could be threatened.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump targets this SC candidate with a primary day tweet
Jun 13, 2018 - 16:37
Nikki Haley - faces challenges from Haley administration veteran Catherine Templeton, businessman John Warren and others. But Trump was definitely a factor in making Sanford the second House Republican in 2018 to lose a primary.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump adviser apologizes for "inappropriate" comments targeting Trudeau
Jun 13, 2018 - 16:05
Navarro now regrets the " inappropriate " language he used, he admitted at a Wall Street Journal event on Tuesday . But Trump's shots at Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his general churlishness served no useful end.