Interplanetary autonomous space station Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of NASA aerospace agency took a photo of a lone rover Opportunity, which has not been in contact for more than two months. Recall that the rover was silent due to the global Martian dust storm that covered the entire planet back in June this year. A rover operating on the basis of solar batteries could not receive enough solar energy to power the electronics and therefore entered hibernation mode. The Agency still can not establish a relationship with him, although the Martian storm has long ended.
As mentioned above, Opportunity last contacted June 10th. After that, the dust storm in this area intensified, closing a clear sky from the solar panels of the Mars rover, as a result of which he could not collect enough energy to recharge his batteries. Soon after, the dust storm intensified so much that it almost completely covered the entire planet. However, in July, the storm began to weaken. By September 11, the sky had cleared almost completely, and the Opportunity team set about trying to “reanimate” the six-wheeled autonomous robot.
The rover team decided to wait another 45 days, “actively listening” to any possible signals that the rover might give. To date, two weeks have already passed from this deadline. If, by the end of the 45-day period, Opportunity fails to contact, according to an official statement, the agency will consider finalizing its mission. At the same time, people who are working on this program say they will continue to passively wait for any signs of life from the rover, at least until the end of January next year.
Recall that the rover “Opportunity” of the NASA aerospace agency has been exploring the Red Planet for more than 14 years. A golf-car-sized rover landed on Mars in January 2004, three weeks after its twin, the rover Spirit, landed in a different region on the Red Planet.
The main mission of both Mars rovers was designed for 90 Earth days, but both rovers worked on Mars significantly more than their expected "warranty period". Opportunity stayed alert until the beginning of June this year; Spirit stuck in the dunes and was declared lost only in 2011.
The scientific achievements of both machines are truly impressive. For example, Spirit and Opportunity have found plenty of evidence that rivers of liquid water once flowed on ancient Mars.