Opportunity rover still silent on Mars, 4 months after epic dust storm began
By Mike Wall
October 12, 2018, 11:41:32 AM EDT
The Opportunity rover's silent stretch on Marshas now reached four months.
Opportunity hasn't made a peep since June 10. Around that time, a developing dust storm shrouded its environs in darkness, preventing the solar-powered rover from harvesting enough sunlight to recharge its batteries.
The Martian dust storm grew to envelop the entire planet 10 days later. But by late July the maelstrom was abating, and the sky continued to clear over the following weeks. By Sept. 11, conditions near Opportunity's locale — a valley on the rim of the 14-mile-wide (22 kilometers) Endeavour Crater — were good enough that the rover team ramped up its hailing efforts, kicking off a 45-day "active listening" campaign.
That campaign is now two-thirds over, and there's still been nothing from the six-wheeled robot. If the clock runs out on Opportunity, NASA will reassess its recovery plans and efforts, agency officials have said. But engineers and technicians will continue listening for a ping from Opportunity in a more passive mode at least through January, mission managers have said.
The venerable rover may be dead, done in by a combination of the darkness and the bitter Martian cold. Without any power, after all, Opportunity cannot run its onboard heaters. But there is still hope, even at this relatively late date.
More Weather News
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 11:32:44 AM EST
A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal is on track to strengthen into a tropical cyclone with eventual impacts to eastern India later this weekend and early next week.
In case you missed it: Deadly snowstorm pummels South; Strongest Tennessee earthquake in 45 years shakes Atlanta
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 11:30:28 AM EST
The strongest earthquake to hit the southern U.S. in 45 years rattled Tennessee to Georgia this week while a snowstorm wreaked havoc from the Carolinas to Virginia.
What can homeowners in high-risk areas do if they're struggling to obtain, keep wildfire insurance coverage?
Homeowners in wildfire-prone areas could potentially find themselves struggling to get insurers to cover them.
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 11:21:04 AM EST
The northern edge of a storm with flooding rain in the southeastern United States will bring rain, fog, ice and a wintry mix to portions of the Northeast this weekend.
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 11:24:12 AM EST
A multi-faceted winter storm is taking aim at the United Kingdom, threatening to cause widespread travel hazards and disruptions this weekend.
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 10:12:41 AM EST
The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetlands across the United States through rollbacks in the Clean Water Act.
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 11:06:13 AM EST
Bomb cyclones, major hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and major flooding produced some memorable and tragic photos in 2018.
Weather News - December 14, 2018, 10:27:55 AM EST
Fans at matchups in the Northeast will see wet, chilly and cloudy conditions this weekend.