NASA’s Opportunity rover appears as a blip in the center of this square in a photo taken on Sept. 20, 2018 by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The dust storm over Perseverance Valley has substantially cleared. The square highlighting Opportunity is just over a half-mile (1 kilometer) across. NASA/JPL-Caltech
The skies are clearing over NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover but we’ve still not heard from the robotic explorer since June 10. That’s when a planet-encircling dust storm kicked into gear, saturating the thin Martian air with fine dust and choking off the sunlight the rover needed to power its solar arrays and recharge its batteries.
Areas on Mars that were once invisible under dust clouds including the shrinking south polar ice cap have returned to view in this photo taken on Sept. 29. Christopher Go
The Opportunity science team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver. They’ve also increased the number of commands sent to Opportunity in an attempt to get a response. Based on satellite observations of the rover’s location in the aptly named Perseverance Valley there’s enough sunlight right now to provide the necessary energy for ...