Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sleep Well, Little Rover, Your Mission Has Ended





Well, with some sadness today, NASA announced that the Opportunity rover has not responded to numerous wake-up calls since August last year, and the mission has officially been ended.

The "Little Rover That Could" lasted far beyond it's "90 Day Warranty", and wound up being in service for 5,352 "Sols", or Earth-days of operation.

And she covered a tad over 28 miles from the landing site to her final position.

In June of 2018 she got covered with dust from a Mars-wide dust storm, and the output of the solar panels dropped, and dropped, and dropped until NASA decided it was best to put her in "Hibernation Mode".

Since she'd survived dust storms before, there was hope that after the dust subsided, that the normal Martian winds would blow the panels clean, and she'd wake up on command.

Alas, Opportunity has not responded to wake-up commands, so today NASA pulled the plug.

I haven't heard if they'll occasionally swing a dish that way and call "Hello? Anybody Home?", or if they'll just write her off.

Anyway you look at it, they got a pretty big bang-for-the-buck with this little explorer!

11 comments:

  1. Indeed, it's an impressive record.

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  2. Proof this country produces some skilled people.

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    1. Yes we do, and it was an honor to know and work with some of them.

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  3. It would be neat if they called occasionally. Who knows? Maybe the "little rover that could" might wake up some day.

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    1. I don't know what procedures and protocols are involved to do that. It's a question of scheduling the resources, and then executing a transmission plan.

      Sure would be cool if it woke up again, though!

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  4. 14th year of a 90 day mission? Pretty good performance.

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  5. What a great rover! And who knows, maybe it'll wake up again, I won't say aliens.

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  6. Did you ever watch that movie "The Martian" where the Rover played such a big part in the plot? Not a bad flick.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, good movie.

      They also used parts from a rover in "Red Planet" to contact Earth when their habitat was destroyed.

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Keep it civil, please....