NASA is sending a desperate message to wake up Opportunity on Mars

NASA is sending a desperate message to wake up Opportunity on Mars

NASA is sending a desperate message to wake up Opportunity on Mars

The first one is regarding the rover's initial X-band radio which is used for communicating with Earth, which could have failed. But her dedicated team isn't ready to give up on Opportunity just yet. The new commands will be sent in the coming weeks and will address the issues that are preventing Opportunity rover from transmitting signals. The second scenario could mean that both primary and secondary radios failed and that it can't talk back to Earth.

This mosaic of images was taken by NASA Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity during December of 2011.

"The potential remedies being beamed up to address these unlikely events include a command for the rover to switch to its backup X-band radio and commands directed to reset the clock and respond via UHF [ultra high frequency]", the laboratory said, noting, however, that "a series of unlikely events" need to have occurred for any of these to be the case.

Engineers were initially hopeful that Mars' "dust-clearing season", when increased winds could knock dust off of the rover's solar panels and allow it to recharge, would help bring Opportunity back online.

"Over the past seven months, we have attempted to contact Opportunity over 600 times". The "sweep and beep" commands attempt to coax the rover into responding to the bombardment of signals with a beep. "While we have not heard back from the rover and the probability that we ever will is decreasing each day, we plan to continue to pursue every logical solution that could put us back in touch". Mars is now moving into southern winter, meaning that the low temperatures in the Perseverance Valley would inflict irreparable damages to NASA's Opportunity Rover's internal wires and computing systems, as well as to its solar-powered batteries. Should the rover remain silent, the project engineers will move forward according to protocols dictated by the Mars Program Office at JPL and NASA Headquarters. They landed on Mars in 2004.

Before contact was lost, the vehicle had operated for 5,111 sols, or Martian days, and traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) - the longest by an off-world wheeled vehicle.

Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2003.

With the government shutdown over, NASA is once again sharing selfie photographs snapped by the space agency's Martian rover Curiosity.

NASA now operates two other surface spacecraft: the nuclear-powered Curiosity rover, which landed in August 2012; and the solar-powered InSight lander, which touched down in November 2018.

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