Opportunity dust storm update, June 12

PIA22521_hiresNASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report
Updated at 6:30 p.m. PDT on June 12, 2018

NASA engineers attempted to contact the Opportunity rover today but did not hear back from the nearly 15-year old rover. The team is now operating under the assumption that the charge in Opportunity’s batteries has dipped below 24 volts and the rover has entered low power fault mode, a condition where all subsystems, except a mission clock, are turned off. The rover’s mission clock is programmed to wake the computer so it can check power levels.

If the rover’s computer determines that its batteries don’t have enough charge, it will again put itself back to sleep. Due to an extreme amount of dust over Perseverance Valley, mission engineers believe it is unlikely the rover has enough sunlight to charge back up for at least the next several days.

The Martian dust storm that has blotted out the sun above Opportunity has continued to intensify. The storm, which was first detected on May 30, now blankets 14-million square miles (35-million square kilometers) of Martian surface — a quarter of the planet.

NASA is holding a news teleconference on Wednesday, June 13, to discuss the storm and the observations of it by various spacecraft. Details at: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7158 [More at links]

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