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Mars: Are the Red Rovers ready to roll Over?

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posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 06:53 PM
The atmosphere is thin. but right now the dust is thick.
According to Nasa, over 90 percent of direct sunlight is being blocked by dust storms. It's worse at Opportunity's location.

On Tuesday, July 17, the output from Opportunity's solar panels dropped to 148 watt hours, the lowest point for either rover. On Wednesday, Opportunity's solar-panel output dropped even lower, to 128 watt hours.

Before the storms they were producing 700 watt-hours per day.
Thats a BIG reduction, and it could cut into the regular nightly hibernation.
The Rovers may not be able to keep themselves warm.

Nasa News Release

So let's cross our fingers, and hope neither machine BITES the DUST.

posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 07:34 PM
Lets hope for the best but the two Mars Rovers have wildly exceeded expectations. Fine job by the people at NASA and JPL on this one.

posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 11:35 PM
I got ten bucks that says they will be able to keep them going.

I think so because I've been to a lecture with the guy who calculates the efficiency of the solar panels on the rovers and he explained how they did amazing things to keep them alive. One was to drive the rover up on the side of a hill to angle the panel toward the sun during the winter. When dust started to diminish the solar panels, they caught a break which lead to the discovery of dust devils that came nearby and cleaned the dust off the solar panels and the rover was able to keep going. In my opinion, Timex could learn a few things from these guys.

Even if this is the end for the rovers and I loose ten bucks, it will be the best ten bucks I ever spent.

posted on Jul, 21 2007 @ 12:13 AM
They will make it, im sure they are not using anything nonessential. And im also sure the storm will fade soon, I guess.

Of course we all know an unused battery dies, but I dont know what kind of batterys they use either.

O well I hope they have one more mission left in them.
God speed rovers, and may the force be with you.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 03:40 PM
It has really been a great run so far.
Over three years, on the surface.

This image , which reminds me of those paint chips you get at the hardware store, has been used to illustrate the difference of available light.
It's a good visual, in that respect.

They were taken over a 30 SOL period. At roughly the same time of day.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 05:05 PM
An update on the little engines that could.
It looks like things are in good shape, and the batteries have a full charge despite the recent weather problems on Mars.

The twin rovers on Mars are in good shape today despite widespread dust storms that worsened last week and threatened to cut off solar power to the robotic explorers.

Steve Squyres of Cornell University, the lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) project, said that both Spirit and Opportunity are in "excellent shape" based on a radio transmission received this morning.

"Both came through the weekend beautifully," Squyres said in a telephone interview. "They were both power positive over the weekend, meaning they were generating more power than they were consuming."

The amount of sunlight penetrating the dust-choked martian atmosphere has increased slightly in recent days, and the batteries of both rovers are fully charged,

What did NASA do, send two Energizer Bunnies to Mars ???
They keep going, and going, and going...........


posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:08 PM
Wow, I was ready to expect the worst and figured this storm would possibly be the end of the two rovers. I'm really glad to see that this doesn't seem to be the case.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:14 PM
Awesome, thanks for the update Anx.

If the trend continues, perhaps Opportunity will finally take that trip down into Victoria crater..And the next drama will be..getting out..

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 08:55 PM
Yeah spacedoubt, it's Victoria crater I've been looking forward to. The decent should be pretty interesting to follow.

I wonder if this dust storm has deposited dust on the solar panels, or cleaned them like the dust devil did before. The worry is still there that the dust storm could pick up again, but it looks like the worst is over.

Just for everyones information, I'll show you a few pictures from NASA taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This will give an idea of the voyage ahead, and they think this will be the end of it's journey.

Victoria crater may be the last major site that Opportunity will visit. One reason is that the large, deep crater may take up to a year to analyse thoroughly. Secondly, there are few other places of interest in the nearby vicinity and other craters deeper than Victoria are more than 25 km away.

Just to give you some scale, the crater is 750 Meters across, and 70 Meters deep. That's a long dangerous crawl to the bottom, and I don't think it's coming out of this one.

From the same link you can see the crater in it's entirety.

This image has the Rover sitting at the rim.

Here's a hi-res of the same image.

The link above has all these images, plus more, all in hi-res that are great to look at.

EDIT: fixed link

[edit on 23/7/2007 by anxietydisorder]

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