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Astronomers are awaiting the awakening of the Martian Opportunity rover

31 Aug 2018, 11:21 UTC
Astronomers are awaiting the awakening of the Martian Opportunity rover
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Opportunity’s Pancam took the component images for this view from a position outside Endeavour Crater during the span of 7 to 19 of June 2017. Toward the right side of this scene is a broad notch in the crest of the western rim of crater. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.
A planet-encircling dust storm on Mars, which was first detected 30 May 2018 and halted operations for the Opportunity rover, continues to abate.
With clearing skies over Opportunity’s resting spot in Mars’ Perseverance Valley, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, United States, believe the nearly 15-year-old, solar-powered rover will soon receive enough sunlight to automatically initiate recovery procedures – if the rover is able to do so. To prepare, the Opportunity mission team has developed a two-step plan to provide the highest probability of successfully communicating with the rover and bringing it back online.
“The Sun is breaking through the haze over Perseverance Valley, and soon there will be enough sunlight present that Opportunity should be able to recharge its batteries,” says John Callas, Opportunity project manager at JPL. “When the tau level [a measure of the amount of particulate matter in the Martian sky] dips below ...

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