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Will the Opportunity Mars rover awaken after the dust storm passes?
As of June 20, 2018, the entire Red Planet has been ensnarled in dust. Yikes! Here's USA Today with the gory details:
A giant dust storm has enveloped the entire planet of Mars, with dust clouds reaching up to 40 miles high, NASA announced Wednesday. The dust storm has silenced NASA's solar-powered rover Opportunity since last week, by obscuring the sun. The robot rover has gone to sleep because its solar panels are unable to provide or recharge its batteries. But NASA's other Martian rover, Curiosity, is nuclear powered and is mostly unaffected by the dust storm.
In case you want to read amazing details about these beastly storms, check this video out.
Will the plucky rover known as Opportunity make it out of this storm alive?
the dust is incredibly thick over Endeavour Crater — thicker than anything Opportunity has dealt with before, mission team members said. Opportunity is now enduring complete darkness 24 hours a day, and its power levels have dropped precipitously as a result — from 645 watt-hours on June 2 to about 22 watt-hours on Sunday (June 10)
As a result, says Ray Arvidson, an investigator on the rover mission, "Opportunity is now likely in a low-power mode, "in which the rover wakes up, checks its power and, if too low, just goes back to sleep again," according to Inside Outer Space.
"At some point as the storm subsides, Opportunity should wake up, decide it has enough power to transmit a signal from its low-gain antenna, saying, 'I am awake and OK, but I am going back to sleep again,'" he added. "This should happen every sol until it decides to go back to full operation."
Question resolves positive if NASA manages to make contact again with Opportunity after the storm passes. Godspeed, little rover!
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