Home / Science / NASA starts 45-day clock to contact Mars Rover Opportunity as Dust Storm Wanes

NASA starts 45-day clock to contact Mars Rover Opportunity as Dust Storm Wanes



The planet's astounding dust storm has decided enough for NASA to launch a 45-day active listening period, where the Office hopes to get in touch with Rover Opportunity after three months of silence, NASA announced yesterday (Sept. 11).

So, for the next 45 days, NASA engineers will tie the spacecraft several times a day, rather than the three times a week that has been the procedure. That schedule is based on the hope that the rover now harvests enough solar energy to receive and respond to commands. In this active listening procedure, NASA sends instructions that force the rover to generate a signal at a given frequency if it is charged and not severely damaged.

If the rover has not contacted after the 45 days have ended, NASA must decide how to proceed. In a statement released on August 30, the agency said it would continue to passively pass the rover until the end of January. [Mars Dust Storm 201

8: What It Means for Opportunity Rover]

The new phase of the recovery plan was triggered when NASA did two consecutive measurements of atmospheric opacity, called rope, of less than 1.5. When the opportunity first lost contact with the earth, the measurement was over 10. The office hopes that now that the dust sets itself out of the sky, the robber's solar panels can successfully load so that the canoe reboot reconnects with the ground.

  Traces of NASA's Opportunity Rover on Mars are visible on the Mars surface of the image in June 2017. After months of Opportunity silence due to a dust storm on Mars, NASA has begun a 45-day campaign to restore contact with the rover.

Traces of NASA's Opportunity Rover on Mars are visible on the Mars surface of the image in June 2017. After months of Opportunity silence due to a dust storm on Mars, NASA has begun a 45-day campaign to restore contact with the rover.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / Arizona State Univ.

When the plan was announced, some researchers who were affiliated with the task expressed concern that this active listening period of atmospheric opacity should begin The time at Opportunity for soon.

That's because all such dust simply falls down, which means there's nothing to prevent it from falling on the rover's solar panels. And if the problem is that dust blocks solar panels from charging, it does not matter if the dust floats in the air or rests on the panels. Mars has seasonal weather called dammtjjer who could clean that dust away, but they do not start until November. At which point, the 45 days of active termination will have ended.

The robber has investigated the Mars area since 2004, far handing over its original mission timeline for 90 March days (a march is about 40 minutes longer than a terrain). But the engineers and researchers who control the rover have not heard from Opportunity since June 10th.

They hope that the robot is only in hibernation and waiting for the dust to settle. However, the next 45 days can be the best chance Opportunity has left.

Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or follow her @meghanbartels . Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com .


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