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Rover Team Beaming New Commands to Opportunity on Mars

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posted on Jan, 26 2019 @ 04:41 PM

"We have and will continue to use multiple techniques in our attempts to contact the rover," said John Callas, project manager for Opportunity at JPL. "These new command strategies are in addition to the 'sweep and beep' commands we have been transmitting up to the rover since September." With "sweep and beep," instead of just listening for Opportunity, the project sends commands to the rover to respond back with a beep.

The new transmission strategies are expected to go on for several weeks. They address three possible scenarios: that the rover's primary X-band radio - which Opportunity uses to communicate with Earth - has failed; that both its primary and secondary X-band radios have failed; or that the rover's internal clock, which provides a timeframe for its computer brain, is offset. A series of unlikely events would need to have transpired for any one of these faults to occur. The potential remedies being beamed up to address these unlikely events include a command for the rover to switch to its backup X-band radio and commands directed to reset the clock and respond via UHF.

"Over the past seven months we have attempted to contact Opportunity over 600 times," said Callas. "While we have not heard back from the rover and the probability that we ever will is decreasing each day, we plan to continue to pursue every logical solution that could put us back in touch."

Time is of the essence for the Opportunity team. The "dust-clearing season" - the time of year on Mars when increased winds could clear the rover's solar panels of dust that might be preventing it from charging its batteries - is drawing to a close. Meanwhile, Mars is heading into southern winter, which brings with it extremely low temperatures that are likely to cause irreparable harm to an unpowered rover's batteries, internal wiring and/or computer systems.

Rover Team Beaming New Commands to Opportunity on Mars

NASA is going to try a last-ditch effort to regain control of the rover. With the "dust-clearing season" ending soon and southern winter quickly approaching the opportunity to bring the rover back to life is fading.

Come on Oppy, you can do it!

posted on Jan, 26 2019 @ 05:38 PM
I am sure these little rovers will be in a museum in the distant future if mankind does not destroy itself.
It may seem far fetched but just look at what we humans do with historical kit, we dig it up and restore / exhibit it.
It may be hundreds of years but i like the believe they will be rescued.

All the best little rovers
edit on 26119 by Quadlink because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 26 2019 @ 07:37 PM
That's what Watney did with Pathfinder. Could happen.

posted on Jan, 27 2019 @ 01:39 AM
Are there any recent HiRISE images of the rover? It could've been hit with a meteoroid, such impacts happen on Mars quite often.

posted on Jan, 27 2019 @ 04:34 AM
a reply to: wildespace

At least until November 2018 Opportunity could still be seen on the slopes of Perseverance Valley:

Opportunity on 20 September 2018:
Source: ESP_056955_1775

Opportunity on 24 November 2018:
Source: ESP_057786_1775

Let's hope they'll manage to wake her up again!

posted on Jan, 27 2019 @ 04:56 AM
a reply to: LookingAtMars

I guess it costs nothing to send new signals but given the length of time Opportunity has been silent suggest the dust storm and the cold have put her to sleep for good , it was a fun ride.
Rust in Peace Oppy.

On a positive note Mars 2020 launches next year and Curiosity is still plodding on.

posted on Jan, 27 2019 @ 08:16 PM

originally posted by: wildespace
Are there any recent HiRISE images of the rover? It could've been hit with a meteoroid, such impacts happen on Mars quite often.

Maybe. But Occam's Razor says that most likely the dust that covered its solar panels during that massive dust storm last year was not cleaned off well enough by the dust-cleaning winds that came after.

That is, it might have been just too much dust on it to be cleaned afterward.

edit on 1/27/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 28 2019 @ 07:41 PM

Opportunity has been silent suggest the dust storm and the cold have put her to sleep for good

a reply to: gortex

Ran across this story today, Steven Squyres seems to agree with you

‘This Could Be the End’ for NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover

NASA’s Opportunity rover began its 15th year on Mars this week, although the intrepid robotic explorer may already be dead.

“I haven’t given up yet,” said Steven W. Squyres, the principal investigator for the mission. But he added, “This could be the end. Under the assumption that this is the end, it feels good. I mean that.”

The rover — which outlasted all expectations since its landing on Mars in 2004 and helped find convincing geological signs that water once flowed there — fell silent last June when it was enveloped by a global Martian dust storm. In darkness, the solar panels could not generate enough power to keep Opportunity awake.

To be taken out by one of the most ferocious storms on Mars in decades: “That’s an honorable death,” Dr. Squyres said.

Years ago, Dr. Squyres said no matter when the mission ended, he was sure that there would be some tantalizing mystery they would see just beyond reach.

On Thursday, he said that indeed seems to be the case. Opportunity was in the middle of exploring what looks like a gully that was formed by the flowing of water on ancient Mars. As expected, the gully looks eroded near the top, but the rover had not reached the bottom to look at where the sediments would have flowed.

The scientists had rejected some alternative hypotheses, but other ideas could also explain the landscape. “So far, the story is uncertain,” Dr. Squyres said. “The answer probably lies just down the hill.”

edit on 28-1-2019 by LookingAtMars because: (no reason given)

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