NASA's Opportunity Rover Emerges On Mars 3 Months After Going Dark

NASA's Opportunity Rover Emerges On Mars 3 Months After Going Dark

The rover was spotted in the so-called Perseverance Valley on Mars, weeks after the enormous dust storm on the Red Planet diminished.

Thanks to a high-resolution camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA said it can see the Opportunity rover in Perseverance Valley, on the edge of a huge crater. "As the dusty sky continues to clear, the frequent commanding will continue and imaging will be repeated".

"NASA still hasn't heard from the Opportunity rover, but at least we can see it again", NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. In NASA's image, the vehicle appears as a tiny white dot.

"Aside from the rover (only in the new image), the color and albedo patterns are very similar, so an optically thick layer of dust has not been deposited over the region", the agency said. When that term expires, NASA will consider the Mars Curiosity rover's mission accomplished for good.

But the future of Opportunity is still in limbo as NASA has still not heard from the 14-year-old solar-powered rover.

The massive storm covered the entire planet in dust and blocked the sun, coating the rover in thick dust and preventing its solar panels from charging it. This picture of the Opportunity rover is the first contact with it since its radio went silent.

Opportunity has been exploring Mars since 2004, despite it only expected to operate for 90 Martian days.

Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, are a pair of unmanned robotic vehicles designed by NASA to tool around on the Martian surface and transmit data about conditions there back to Earth.

Despite the fact they now know it's there, NASA engineers are still at a loss as for how to proceed.

Related Articles