The clock hasn’t run out on NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover after all.
On Sept. 11, NASA began a 45-day “active listening” campaign in an attempt to rouse the solar-powered Opportunity, which went silent on June 10 after a raging dust storm plunged its environs into darkness.
The 45-day deadline passed late last week. But NASA will continue active listening — a strategy that involves both sending commands to Opportunity and listening for any peeps the six-wheeled robot may make — for several more months at least, agency officials announced yesterday (Oct. 29).
“After a review of the progress of the listening campaign, NASA will continue its current strategy for attempting to make contact with the Opportunity rover for the foreseeable future,” NASA officials wrote in a mission update yesterday (Oct. 29).
“Winds could increase in the next few months at Opportunity’s location on Mars, resulting in dust being blown off the rover’s solar panels,” they added. “The agency will reassess the situation in the January 2019 time frame.”
The change in strategy comes in the commitment to keep pinging Opportunity. Mission team members and NASA officials had previously said they would continue to listen for any signal from the rover at least through January.
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