Engineers will use the Goldenstone Complex for Deep Space Communications in California to send new commands to the Martian robot robot in hopes of forcing the robot to get in contact with the Earth.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
NASA has developed a new, more powerful collection of commands to try to force the silent rope of Mars Opening to resume operations.
The engineers did not hear from the battered robot of June 10, 2018, shortly before the global dust storm that developed on Mars. The Opportunity, powered by solar power, ignored hundreds of calls from the Earth because it calmed down for the first time, causing team members to worry that its mission was over.
"Over the past seven months, we have tried to contact Opentunit more than 600 times," said John Kalas, Opportunity Project Manager, in a statement. "While we have not heard back from the rover and the likelihood that it will ever decrease every day, we plan to continue to follow every logical solution that could bring us back in touch." [Mars Dust Storm 2018: How It Grew & What It Means for Opportunity]
As silence spread over the summer, mission members were hoping that the storm simply fell dust on the sun panels that dispute Opportunity and that the natural phenomenon of seasonal weather conditions on Mars could clear that dust, allowing the rover to fill up. (These dusting events started in November and were expected to continue this week.)
That hope led the team to focus on the so-called. clean and beep commands designed to encourage the rover to send a signal home when it re-moves, even if its internal clock is still out of the mile due to the storm.
The new commands are designed to deal with that possibility and two more: the failures of its primary or both X-band radios. (In a statement NASA called these scenarios unbelievable.) With this new approach, Opportunity will be told not only to be beat, but also to completely switch the communication modes.
NASA's announcement of a new approach comes just one day after the agency celebrated the 15th anniversary of Opatija's landing on January 24, 2004. When the rover and his twin Spirit landed, they were designed to last 90 days on Mars, each of which is about 40 minutes longer than the Earth Day.
Mission officers had hoped to hear from the rover so far, given the recent favorable weather patterns on Mars. Instead, Opportunity now faces an attack on the frigid winter on Mars, which could further damage the rover if it does not have enough power to warm up.
The agency said it would send new commands to the "weeks" option; if the rover is silent then NASA will have to decide whether to give up all hope of the mission.