The "Rock Hall" drill hole is visible to the lower left of the rover; the scene is dustier than usual at this time of year due to a regional dust storm. But NASA is not ready to give up on its longlasting Mars rover.
The new commands, which will be beamed to the rover during the next several weeks, address low-likelihood events that could have occurred aboard Opportunity, preventing it from transmitting, NASA said. In the first case the primary X-band radio has been compromised by the savage winds that whipped the planet as the storm was in progress.
This mission is essential to recover the sleeping Opportunity rover, because the "dust-clearing season" is approaching its end.
In order to troubleshoot for these possibilities, commands will be send to Opportunity to switch to its backup X-band radio as well as separate commands to reset the clock and respond via ultra high frequency radio.
"Fifteen years on the surface of Mars is testament not only to a magnificent machine of exploration but the dedicated and talented team behind it that has allowed us to expand our discovery space of the Red Planet", Callas said. The landing site for the Opportunity mission is in the southern hemisphere of Mars, and during southern winters Mars is also further away from the Sun, which means the is colder than the northern winter.
"Over the past seven months, we have attempted to contact Opportunity over 600 times". "While we have not heard back from the rover and the probability that we ever will is decreasing each day, we plan to continue to pursue every logical solution that could put us back in touch".
That method involves sending commands to the rover to respond with a beep, in the hopes that the rover will re-establish communication.
The harsh conditions "are likely to cause irreparable harm to an unpowered rover's batteries, internal wiring and/or computer systems", the laboratory stated. If not, the project team would have to consult with the Mars Program office at JPL and NASA headquarters "to determine the path forward". They landed on Mars in 2004. Before falling silent, it logged more than 28 miles. The rover is expected to land on Mars Feb. 18, 2021.
Opportunity and its twin craft, Spirit landed on Mars on January 24, 2004.
With the government shutdown over, NASA is once again sharing selfie photographs snapped by the space agency's Martian rover Curiosity.
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has captured an incredible selfie on the surface of the Red Planet.