A Martian dust storm covering a quarter of the planet threatens to end a 15-year exploration mission by NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover.
“The project team is very concerned,” said John Callas, project manager for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers mission at JPL.
A self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, in 2014.
Source: NASA JPL
Once the storm clears, even if NASA engineers can re-establish contact with Opportunity, they may find another vexing problem: “We may have a lot of dust on this vehicle that we have to deal with,” Callas said.
The Martian dust storm blotting out the sun above Opportunity has continued to intensify. It blankets a quarter of the planet. All rover subsystems are off, except a mission clock, programmed to wake the computer to check power levels. Full status report: https://t.co/VwuuPwEpPA pic.twitter.com/rQvHDsxuQj— Spirit and Oppy (@MarsRovers) June 13, 2018