Ever since a massive dust storm took place on Mars this past summer, NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has been silent since June 10, leading to a halt of the rover’s operations at Perseverance Valley.
However, those in charge of Oppy haven’t given up on the golf-cart-size robot yet, which landed on Mars in January 2004.
Ray Arvidson, Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator of Washington University in St. Louis, stated that they are still holding onto a sliver of hope that an almost 15-year-old rover living under harsh conditions for a very long time will wake up and talk to them.
Arvidson told Inside Outer Space that they would continue to try and communicate with Opportunity at least through January actively.
Meanwhile, Arvidson explained that he has started drawing up an Extended Mission-12 proposal on what Opportunity would do if the rover did begin to function again. The plan will be handed into NASA in mid-February.
Arvidson added that they don’t want to be caught off-guard with no proposal and a renewed rover coming back online in late January, for instance. The windy season is just beginning, so it may happen, he said.
In the coming weeks, winds could increase where Opportunity is located on Mars, and this could result in dust being blown off the rover’s solar panels allowing the six-wheeled robot to work again finally.
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