In DepthPlanetary Science

Windy season fails to revive fading Mars rover

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Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 439
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6426.439-a

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The 15-year-old Opportunity rover is coming to its end. After a dust storm drained it of solar power, the Mars rover has sat silently for 6 months, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is running out of tricks to revive it. Agency officials will soon decide whether to end the mission. NASA has sent the rover more than 600 commands to revive it. Engineers hoped seasonal winds, running high between November 2018 and the end of January, would clear the solar panels of dust. But the rover hasn't recovered. Opportunity will leave a trail of superlatives. Its 90-day mission lasted 5000 days, covering 45 kilometers. It was the first mission to show Mars was habitable in the distant past, with once abundant water.