NASA to Announce Future of Missing Mars Opportunity Rover
The solar-powered rover was lost in a planet-wide dust storm last year
Today, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California will announce the future of the Mars Opportunity rover, which was lost in a giant, planet-wide dust storm in June.
On Tuesday night, the lab made a final attempt to reach out to the rover. Today, at 2 p.m. EST (9 p.m. in Kyiv) it will announce whether it plans to continue the search or finally say “goodbye” to Opportunity.
The announcement will be live on NASA TV, the NASA website, and on YouTube.
Whatever the future may hold for the golf-cart-sized Opportunity rover, there’s no question but that it’s fulfilled its mission.
Along with its brother rover, Spirit, back in 2004, Opportunity was initially intended to survive just a 3-month-long mission to survey the Martian landscape for signs of ancient water.
Not only did Opportunity show scientists that yes, ancient Mars had been a relatively warm and wet world billions of years ago, but it kept on rolling, surveying the Martian landscape for 15 years and showing the world that it was one tough little robot.
When the planet-wide dust storm hit Mars last summer, scientists hoped against hope that Opportunity would wake up. They even created a playlist of songs that they would play for luck as they tried to get a signal from Opportunity, including such hits as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!” by Wham, “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden, and “Dust in the Wind,” by Kansas.
It may bring comfort to Mars lovers that even if Opportunity is once-and-for-all silent, its younger sibling, “Curiosity,” which landed on Mars in 2012, is still in good shape.