Can NASA’s Opportunity Rover Battle The Massive Dust Storm on Mars?

 

A massive dust storm is rattling Mars now where NASA’s Opportunity rover is currently positioned. The storm has to force to cut off the connection between the space bot and the Earth not just temporarily but permanently. The reason is that the dust layer is so thick that the Sun is not visible from the surface of Mars. Due to this, Opportunity rover’s solar panels are not getting any light to charge the internal battery. It is a case of hope for the Engineers at NASA who are keeping a close eye on the unexpected weather condition. They are not entirely sure whether the rover will make it through and function appropriately once the dust storm settles. 

The Good and The Bad News – 

The good news is that NASA’s Opportunity landed on the red planet in January 2004 and it has been lasting on the surface for 14 long years. In this period, it has gone through several minor and major wraths of the weather. The construction of the space bot has been done to sustain all foreseeable weather hazards. The most notable of the worst weather conditions faced by the bot was the major Martian dust storm back in 2007. It took the engineers by surprise how the rover managed to survive through such an unforeseen phenomenon. 

But the bad news is that the storm of 2007 is nothing in comparison to the one raging right now. The storm seemed to have formed just over the rover area on 3rd June, and the scientists had no clue about it. Not only that, it did not take long for the storm to strengthen. The dust storm is so massive that the planet’s surface appears to be darker than ever. It is as if there is no daytime on Mars currently. Even though the engineers do not fear any mechanical damage, the battery is on its way to its reserves. 

The Future Possibilities – 

The rover is currently positioned near the equator on Mars which means that there is a higher chance of getting the sunrays faster once the dust storm gets over. However, the storm is showing no signs of settling down yet as it has been growing in size and strength from its day of origin. If the storm lasts for months, the battery reserves will be hit, and the connection between Opportunity and Earth will be disrupted until the time the sun rays hit the solar panel of the space bot and reactivate it. If the battery gets damaged, the outcome could be the worst possible scenarios.