NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Did Not Send Messages Home

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Last June, a dust storm struck the Red Planet, and NASA’s Opportunity rover, which has been inspecting Mars since 2004, has been affected. Covered in dust, the rover could no longer recharge its batteries through its solar panels. It then went into hibernation mode. NASA researchers hoped that the sand would be carried away by seasonal winds from the “dusting season” between November and January.

On November 15th, after five months of silence, the NASA’s Opportunity rover seems to have woken up and sent data to Earth. These signals have intrigued experts from the US space agency as well as scientists around the world. That, however, was an extremely slow downlink transmission of 11 bytes per second. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, however, specifies that these data may be false positives or traces of data previously sent, but not yet transmitted to Earth.

NASA’s Deep Space Communications System received the signals. On the other hand, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory pointed out that, according to an extensive investigation, “these signals do not constitute a transmission of Opportunity.”

NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Did Not Send Messages Home, Unfortunately

“Today, the Deep Space Network website showed what looked like a signal from Opportunity,” JPL said in a tweet. “Although we would like to say that it was a [NASA Opportunity Phone Home] moment, further investigations show that these signals are not an Opportunity transmission.”

“Test data or false positives can give the impression that a given space rover is active on the Deep Space Network website,” NASA continued. “We miss Opportunity, and we would be happy to share a verified signal. Our work to restore communications continues,” JPL continued in another comment.

It should be noted that, initially, the NASA’ Opportunity rover was about to complete a fourteen-year mission on the Red Planet. However, this deadline has already been exceeded by ninety-four days.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.