NASA’s Opportunity rover has got super success already. Years upon years it has been studying the Martian surface and has proved to be an extremely reliable and hardy piece of hardware. However, it seems that a NASA dust storm that began in May, might have abruptly ended its historic run.
The solar-powered Opportunity had run out of juice in the mid of June and was forced to go into a dormant standby mode. The dust storm was so strong that it swallowed the entirety of Mars. It had blocked out the Sun, which deprived the Opportunity of the only available source of power. NASA engineers were of the view that when the skies begin to clear, the rover would wake back up. But things aren’t looking good so far.
Michael Staab of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had told Space.com that Morale has been a little shaky and this is the first time she has stopped talking to them and not resumed communication when they had expected.
This is not a good news for NASA. They knew that for a while, the rover would be forced to sit dormant because of the heavy intensity of the storm. But several weeks have passed since then. The dust has started to settle and enough light would have been reaching the surface of the Opportunity to get its batteries charged once again.
The rover is designed in a way that it goes in a quiet mode when the available power is very low. It only wakes in between to check its batteries and calculate how much power is available . If the available power is not enough for it to work, it again goes back to sleep mode. It then again checks the power after a while.
If things would have been fine with the rover, the batteries would have got charged enough to make it function by now. But it isn’t clear how much longer it would take for power levels to reach acceptable levels.
Well, the engineers still hope that the rover would get back up again. The engineers at JPL have been doing everything to get see the rover back again. They are playing inspirational songs like songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Here Comes The Sun”. These songs are one of the favorites among the scientists. But is seems that Opportunity is not listening to them at the moment.