NASA rover falls silent as gigantic dust storm envelops Mars

The Opportunity rover on Mars
Credit
AFP

The right shows the Sun so obscured by dust it looks like a pinprick. Each frame corresponds to a tau value, or measure of opacity: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11.

THE NASA rover "Opportunity", which is stationed on Mars, has fallen silent as a big dust storm enveloped the Red Planet in the past 24 hours. This is bad news for the rover since it relies on solar panels for power and to recharge its batteries.

But data from the transmission on Sunday told engineers that the rover still has enough battery charge to communication with ground controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "And we're concerned about it, obviously".

A senior official there said: "It's like having a loved one in coma in the hospital. And so we are". "The storm, which was first detected on May 30, now blankets 14 million square miles (35 million square kilometers) of Martian surface-a quarter of the planet".

Simulated views of what Opportunity sees during the dust storm.

"Each observation of these large storms brings us one step closer to being able to model them", Zurek said, and his colleague Watson noted that "we're fortunate that we have a record number of operational spacecraft at Mars" to make those observations. The rover has proved hardier than expected by lasting almost 15 years, despite being designed for a 90-day mission.

Last night Nasa detailed how a real example of such a enormous natural event left their solar-powered rover Opportunity uncontactable and in danger.

Whereas the previous storm had an opacity level (tau) of about 5.5, this new storm has an estimated tau of 10.8.

If the rover's computer determines that its batteries don't have enough charge, it will again put itself back to sleep.

IHOP flips over burgers, changes ‘p’ to ‘b’ in logo
It's also a great place for lunch and dinner. "Burgers are a quintessential menu item", says IHOB district manger Chris King. Darren Rebelez, the president of IHOP , explained the re-branding and put restaurant-goers at ease in a statement.

"At that point, the rover will autonomously try to wake up and communicate with us".

"At this point, we're in a waiting mode, listening every day for possible signals", he said. And the Opportunity rover is in the middle of it.

If power levels drop far enough, even the clock will stop ticking. Over time the dust clouds grow to encompass entire regions, and those regional storms can combine to form globe-engulfing weather events. In that case, the computer is programmed to periodically check to see if the sun is up and if so, to phone home.

In order to survive, the rover must not exceed temperatures of -40C to +40C.

A dust storm is raging on Mars. We're also going into the summer season, and so the rover will not get as cold as it would normally. "The rover hits a steady-state temperature", NASA's Jim Watson told reporters, "at which point there's a balance between what little energy is coming out of the rover and what's lost to the environment". "We're concerned, but we're hopeful that the storm will clear and the rover will begin to communicate with us".

A self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, in 2014. That's because it may not be able power its electronic circuits enough to prevent severe cold on Mars from damaging them. Then both rovers made it a full year, then two. And so it went, to everyone's ongoing amazement.

The rover touched down on the red planet with its twin Spirit in January 2004, and the robotic emissaries got to work right away in different parts of the world. NASA has continued to track the storm from orbit and the surface. "They can crop up suddenly but last weeks, even months".

Scientists said the swirling dust has created an extreme smog that blots out sunlight. That's of concern. The problem isn't the dust, but the darkness it creates.

Related News:

  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Reach New Custody Agreement

    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Reach New Custody Agreement

    And, could Angie lose primary custody? "It's actually a breakthrough after having little to no communication for so long". Pitt must spend time with each child at least twice during the 10-day period, with one of the psychologists present.
    Amazon Prime discounts for Whole Foods stores spread to 10 more states

    Amazon Prime discounts for Whole Foods stores spread to 10 more states

    The perks program includes an extra 10% off sale items and rotating deals for members of Amazon's $119-a-year Prime membership. It's worth noting that the Prime member savings are also available in Whole Foods Market 365 stores nationwide.
    Capitals' coach says Cup repeat on the mind

    Capitals' coach says Cup repeat on the mind

    Prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Fallon gave both the Capitals and Golden Knights the "superlatives" treatment . Conn Smythe Trophy victor Alex Ovechkin and owner Ted Leonsis have the Stanley Cup at the tail end of the parade.
  • Garmin's newest Vivoactive 3 smartwatch adds music, improved sleep tracking

    Garmin's newest Vivoactive 3 smartwatch adds music, improved sleep tracking

    You can sync iHeartRadio playlists offline if you subscribe to that service's premium tier, which is $9.99 a month. The sleep-tracking feature isn't yet ready for primetime, so I didn't get the chance to use it.
    Losing Owner Ignites a Triple Crown Brouhaha

    Losing Owner Ignites a Triple Crown Brouhaha

    There were no surprises awaiting his rivals when Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert entered him for the Belmont last Monday. Baffert then threw him right into the Grade I Santa Anita Derby , which he won by 3 lengths.
    Infinity War's Directors Received Death Threats Over Hawkeye's Absence

    Infinity War's Directors Received Death Threats Over Hawkeye's Absence

    On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. Since being released in late April, the superhero film has broken multiple box office records.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith's gran encouraged self-pleasure when she was 9

    Jada Pinkett Smith's gran encouraged self-pleasure when she was 9

    Blogger Sandra Rose noted: "This is a ideal example of narcissistic celebrities who will do and say anything to stay relevant". Anne-Marie Tomchak talks artificial intelligence and the robot take-over on #GirlsWithGoals.is your job truly safe? .
    Trump slams Robert De Niro as 'a very Low IQ individual'

    Trump slams Robert De Niro as 'a very Low IQ individual'

    In these perilous times, you rock the vote, always fighting for truth, transparency and integrity in government. And I apologize to [Canadian Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and the other people at the G7".
    Moon Says Denuclearization of N.Korea Could Take Years

    Moon Says Denuclearization of N.Korea Could Take Years

    But the last three presidents secured commitments from North Korea on denuclearisation that North Korea later reneged on. The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and a state of war still technically exists between the two Koreas.
  • Tony Award Windfall to Boost 'The Band's Visit'

    Tony Award Windfall to Boost 'The Band's Visit'

    Laurie Metcalf won her second Tony, playing a younger version of Jackson's imperious character in Three Tall Women . Of its 11 nominations, " The Band's Visit " received 10 Tony awards - the most for any nominees of the night.
    Trump endorses GOP Rep. Mark Sanford's primary challenger

    Trump endorses GOP Rep. Mark Sanford's primary challenger

    Voters then choose which candidate from that specific party they want to represent that party in November's general election. Some Democrats are upset that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already backed Luria before the primary.

    Trump Responds To Robert De Niro, Calls Him 'Punch-Drunk'

    And, after the f-bombs at the Tonys on Sunday night, it looks like De Niro is staying true to his word about speaking out. He made it through University of Pennsylvania, so he was exposed to a quality education, but he's still an idiot'.


Most liked

Royal visit to NZ confirmed
However, according to the MirrorOnline's lip reader, Meghan wasn't feeling quite as cool, calm and collected as she appeared. And the thousands in attendance certainly appreciated Meghan and Kate's exemplary style, cheering and waving in approval.

Id-El-Fitr: FG declares Friday, Monday public holidays
Following the sighting of the moon, people seen greeting each other and began celebrating Eid. The statement asked all and sundry to observe the day as such throughout the country.

Half of Americans approve of Trump's handling of North Korea - Reuters/Ipsos poll
So, we want the president to be successful in gaining a way in which the Korean Peninsula will be nuclear-free. Ultimately, that may end up being the only option that the United States has short of war.

Donald Trump accuses OPEC of driving up oil prices
USA ally Saudi Arabia remains OPEC's most powerful member - with enough production capacity to manipulate global supplies. Using drilling advances such as fracking, operators in Texas and North Dakota have pushed US production higher.

Brazil´s Fred suffers ankle injury
Five times World Cup winners Brazil have been using Tottenham Hotspur's training ground to prepare for the tournament. Castro's previous tweet described how the 25-year-old had appeared to be in "a lot of pain" following the incident.

Three killed in Saudi Arabia following Houthi missile attack
The United Nations fears that a battle in Hodeidah could be devastating for the estimated 600,000 people still living in the city. Malki also said that legitimate forces in Yemen are preparing to cut the Houthis' route of supplies towards Saada.

Defeat devices reportedly found in diesel Daimlers
A device can be classified as illegal if exhaust filtering systems are deactivated too early or without good reason. It's now unclear how many models in the United Kingdom are impacted.

Wilder agrees to heavyweight showdown with Joshua
AJ would want Wembley for a fight of this magnitude but if we do October or November you can't really do that outdoors. Complicating matters is that Joshua is already due to take on WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.

Apple Blocks Crypto Mining Apps On Its Products
It can generate excessive heat and put a serious strain on the resources of a device - all the things Apple wants to restrain. Cloud-based mining allows the user to take advantage of a shared processing power which is generally run from data centers.

Government avoids EU Withdrawal Bill defeat after last-ditch deal on 'meaningful vote'
One says: "If we do not get what we were promised the Government will be defeated after we have amended the Bill in the Lords". Government sources signalled to the Press Association that ministers were set to back the move.

Kilauea Maps, Videos, Show Lava Entering the Ocean
Lava from the Kilauea volcano continues to erupt from a fissure and forms a river of lava flowing down to Kapoho. The lava is "enough to cover Manhattan 6.5 feet deep" and fill 11.3 million average dump trucks, it said.

Tesla cuts 9 percent of workforce in bid to post profit
Most employees assigned to Home Depot positions will have the option to move to Tesla's retail stores, says Musk. Musk said the layoffs won't affect production of the Model 3 , since no production associates are being be cut.

Trump adviser apologizes for saying ‘special place in hell’ for Trudeau
The next morning, Navarro and chief economics adviser Larry Kudlow were deployed to the Sunday talk shows. Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported .

CDC: Pre-cut melon recalled after multi-state salmonella outbreak
No deaths have been reported, but 60 people have been sickened in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. -States with people sickened: MI (32), IN (11), Missouri (10), IL (six) and OH (one).

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks
After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games. Nadal won three games in a row after returning to court, but the match was stopped again in the ninth game.