NASA scientists are now able to see their solar-powered probe that was missing in a Martian dust storm over a hundred days ago — but the vintage robot has not revealed any signs of life.
Because of a high-resolution camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA stated Tuesday it can see the Opportunity rover at Perseverance Valley, on the edge of a huge crater.
Opportunity was descending into the valley when a dust storm which was first detected May 30 swept over the area. In NASA’s picture, the vehicle appears as a tiny white dot.
The 15-year-old rover was last heard from on June 10, as it moved to”sleep” mode as dust blocked out the Sun and darkness enveloped the Red Planet.
“NASA still has not heard from the Opportunity rover, but at least we can see it ,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.
Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, are a set of unmanned autonomous vehicles made by NASA to tool around on the Martian surface and transmit data about conditions there back to Earth.
Spirit lasted 20 times longer than that. It became stuck in soft dirt in 2009, and its mission was officially declared over in 2011.
Opportunity is going on 60 occasions its planned mission life, has traveled 28 miles (45 kilometers) and discovered evidence of water on Mars and conditions which might have been appropriate for sustaining microbial life.
Last month, NASA said it’d work until mid-October to attempt to bring Opportunity back into life, a timeframe lovers of”Oppy” said was too short.