Solar storms or earthly, destruction is a common factor in both. MARS is no exception. A huge dust storm on Mars has hit NASA’s Opportunity rover. As shown in the images taken on June 06, 2018, a blue dot shows the location of the Opportunity rover which is stuck in a storm.
Reconnaissance Orbiter first spotted the Mars storm; the officers disclosed that a close storm was surrounding the Opportunity rover and plans were being devised to cope up with the situation. NASA declared – “In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned.”
On June 08, the storm was found to have influenced more than seven million square miles. This means that roughly, regarding land, whole northern America is under its impact. The real areas encompasses by this storm are Perseverance Valley, Opportunity’s current home –Meridiani Planum.
Dust storms are a common phenomenon and can show up anytime. They can last for a day, a week or even months.
The Opportunity has been exploring Mars since 2004. It runs on solar energy and becomes weaker in situations like this. It was an extremely smoggy day, and rover could not function well in such atmospheric harshness. Sunlight is crucial for it, and because of its absence, the Opportunity has been forced to conserve all the power it has. If the storm lasts longer, the danger of chance giving up in Martian cold cannot be denied. It is assumed that NASA’s Spirit Rover too expired because of Martian cold. Opportunity is the twin brother of Spirit rover and has survived the same storm in 2007.
The dust storm compelled the Opportunity and spirit rover to minimise its operations during the storm. Saving power is inevitable to survive such hazardous conditions. Rover could not connect with NASA for several days due to the storm that previously prevailed.
Weather conditions on earth can turn into adverse in a blink of an eye, but we can know about it before it happens because of the climate monitoring satellites. But for a moon itself, there is no way to predict that on Mars. The rovers are be it curiosity or opportunity, have to go through a lot to send the report of the mysterious red planet.
The Opportunity has survived previous storms and continued to talk to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California for last fifteen years. With its vita; survival heaters, we hope Opportunity survives this time too.