Opportunity’s Last Message: Why did it go silent on Mars?
First summer month came as a surprise to researchers NASA — the rover, which was launched to the red planet for study, was literally buried under the yoke of a dust storm.
A group of scientists decided to urgently transfer the device to «crisis» a mode that would allow to wait out the resulting cataclysm with minimal losses. However, today, after the storm has died down, NASA employees are still unable to pinpoint the location of the rover..
The resulting dust storm blocked the rover’s path while it was conducting research in an area called the Valley of Perseverance. The device was ready to withstand such elements, because storms are not uncommon on Mars. However, it is during the summer period that the planet is as close to the Sun as possible. Because of this, carbon dioxide evaporates, and the atmosphere becomes many times more concentrated. The temperature rises significantly, which, together with other formed conditions, allows dust to soar much higher than the marks recorded during «rest». The maximum cloud height in this case can be about 60 km.
View of Mars from space in a calm state and with a storm
An interruption in communication between the control center on Earth and the Opportunity rover has already been recorded. In 2007, the connection was interrupted for two weeks. However, scientists say that this time the device survived a much more powerful storm. If the force of the cataclysm occurred on the Earth, the consequences would be dire: dust clouds would completely cover an area equal in scale to North America and Russia at the same time.
Earlier we wrote that NASA makes it possible for anyone to create their own apparatus for movement on the surface of rocky planets..
text: Evgeniya Likhodey, photo: NASA official page on Facebook.com