NASA spots silent Opportunity rover on Mars

Opportunity rover

Opportunity rover

NASA's Mars orbiter has caught a glimpse of its solar-powered Opportunity rover, which has been silent since a dust storm enshrouded the red planet over 100 days ago and cut off the 14-year-old probe's access to sunlight.

"This image was produced from about 166 miles (267 km) above the Martian surface", NASA officials wrote in a description of the image, which was released today (Sept. 25).

The rover was spotted in the so-called Perseverance Valley on Mars, weeks after the very big dust storm on the Red Planet diminished.

The storm grew into a planet-encircling monster shortly thereafter. The current contact methods still haven't paid off, and the rover might be lost for good.

In late July, NASA said that dust storm on Mars began to subside, but the restoration of the Rover Opportunity may take weeks or even months. Last week it passed over Perseverance Valley, which is where Opportunity is sitting.

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The Rover looks like a small dot. However, nothing guarantees that they still work.

Though Opportunity was just seen, it still hasn't been heard from - not since June 10, anyway.

"Now that the sun is shining through the dust, it will start to charge its batteries", Mars Exploration Program Director Jim Watzin explained in a video on Twitter. "But we don't know when that call will come".

In early June, on Mars there was a big dust storms on a global scale (in size - about the size of North America), because of what the Rover could not charge the batteries from solar panels. Still, engineers fear that the solar cells were covered by too much dust or that there was a power fault during the storm that entirely disabled the rover.

The dust has cleared enough for NASA's Mars rover Opportunity to be spotted from space. However, nothing guarantees that the rover will ever be able to respond.

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