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Mars’ Rover Opportunity in Deep Sleep, says NASA

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Published on : Jun 14, 2018

Opportunity, Mars’ veteran rover isn’t dead yet. At present, the craft is in deep sleep to expel a massive Martian dust storm, as stated by NASA spokespersons recently. Spotted a fortnight ago, the craft is encapsulated in a vast dust storm that rose from a small patch to cover quarter of the planet in two weeks. As scarce sunlight is reaching Opportunity’s solar panels, the rover is in low-power mode. The sunlight reaching the rover is barely sufficient to run its internal clock, until the batteries can charge again. The base team at NASA have not received any transmissions from Opportunity since June 10, and this is expected to continue until the storm clears.

Summer in Mars to Power Opportunity

With the onset of summer in Mars, the rover should receive sufficient heat to stay in this mode for a long time, as stated by an Opportunity executive at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Communication between the rover and the base team is expected when the sky clears and the rover begins to charge.

Red-orange in color, the dust storm began as a small patch north of the rover and rose in no time. The weather happening is heading to cover the entire planet in a couple of days. This has led to anxiety in the team, as based on past storms it is anticipated the weather event can continue from a few weeks to few months before communication takes place.

The situation is similar to a one where a loved is in comatose condition in the hospital, with the assurance from doctors that it will wake up.