NASA admitted that the Opportunity rover may be lost forever due to the massive dust storm ravaging Mars. However, hope remains that it will be able to beep back to life.

NASA shut down Opportunity in June due to the Martian dust storm, which is bigger than North America. By early July, NASA still believed that Opportunity will still be able to wake up after being in low-power mode, but that confidence seems to have declined since then.

NASA Worried Over Mars Opportunity Rover

Mars Opportunity Rover has been silent since June 10 when the massive Martian dust storm cut off the rover from solar power. NASA engineers, however, are hoping to soon hear from Opportunity, and have even prepared a wake-up song playlist to try to wake up the rover from its forced slumber.

In a new blog post, NASA explained the three fault modes that Opportunity can get into when it experiences a problem.

The first is the low-power fault, which is what Opportunity likely went into when it was shut down to conserve power, with the plan to wake up once the sunlight is available to recharge its batteries.

The second is the clock fault, which will make it harder for the rover to determine if it is time to communicate with Earth. However, the rover will still be able to use environmental clues, such as increased sunlight, to assume the time.

The third is the uploss fault, which is a warning that its communication equipment may be broken if it has not heard from the Earth after a certain period. The rover will check its equipment and attempts other methods to contact NASA.

While engineers are preparing for these three fault modes once they hear back from the rover, NASA admits that even if Opportunity is able to wake up and contact Earth, it may not be the same.

There is a real possibility that the massive dust storm on Mars has damaged the rover too much and that its batteries have had their capacities drastically reduced due to discharging so much power and staying inactive for so long.

There Is Still Hope For Opportunity

NASA, however, has not lost all hope for Opportunity. Due to the batteries being in relatively good health before the rover was consumed by the Martian dust storm, optimism remains that there has not been too much degradation.

With the dust storm also warming the environment, and the fact that it is summer in the part of Mars where Opportunity is located, the rover may have stayed just warm enough to survive.

NASA has not yet heard back from Opportunity for over two months now. However, it will still be listening for any communication from the rover, especially now that the worst of the dust storm is apparently over.

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