Science

NASA rover is threatened by a huge sandstorm on Mars

NASA’s scientific Opportunity robotic rover Opportunity has been found in the midst of a terrible sandstorm on Mars, which has forced it to silence and no longer communicate with the Earth, and there are fears about its own survival.

The vast quantities of dust in the atmosphere have sunk a large part of the planet in the dark, which is a vital blow to the rover, which is powered by solar energy and thus fails to recharge its batteries. Its Earth Operators, however, are optimistic that it will do it again despite the adverse conditions. As stated by John Callas of the NASA JPL in Pasadena, California, “we are worried, but we hope the storm will break and the rover will communicate with us again.”

The Opportunity arrived in Mars in January 2004, a few weeks after the duo rover Spirit and at a different point on the “red” planet. And while Spirit “delivered the spirit” in 2011, the Opportunity continued to be unattainable until now, exploring the 22-kilometer Endeavor curtain.

Today it is in the so-called “Valley of Insistence,” where the dust from the storm is so dense that there is darkness throughout the day of the Martian.

In 2007, another strong Martian storm had blasted the Opportunity and forced it to silence for four days. The current sandstorm was first perceived by the MRO satellite around Mars on May 30 and has since become more and more powerful. The storm has already covered almost a quarter of Mars, and in two or three days it is expected to have covered the entire planet. However, dust is not expected to completely bury the rover.

The other American rover, the Curiosity, located in another region, is driven by nuclear power rather than solar, so it does not face such serious problems. It is currently unclear how long the current storm will last, as scientists have failed to understand the phenomenon that has taken place on Mars at times. The storm is already studying, apart from MRO, the other two Mars Odyssey and MAVEN spacecraft.

Operators of Opportunity on Earth have been emotionally tied to him. As Calla said, “It’s like having a loved one in a coma in the hospital. The doctors tell you to be patient and wake up. All vital organs are in good condition, so it’s a matter of waiting. But this is your 97 year old grandmother, so you are very anxious. This is what we feel. “