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NASA about pull plugs on Mars rover, quiet for 8 months



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – NASA tries one last time to contact record-setting Mars Rover Opportunity, before calling it stops.

The rover was quiet for eight months, the victim of one of the most powerful dust storms in decades. The strong dust in the sky was reduced last summer and, within a few months, the sunlight was blocked by the solar panels of the spacecraft.

NASA said Tuesday would release a final series of recovery orders, more than 1,000 shipped. If no response to Wednesday – where NASA suspect will be the case – Opportunity is declared dead, 15 years after arriving on the red planet.

The team members look back at Opportunity's accomplishments, including water confirmation once flowing to Mars. Opportunity is, right now, the longest-term lander on Mars. Aside from endurance, six-wheel rover sets a roaming record of 28 miles (45 kilometers.)

This same twin, the Spirit, was pronounced dead in 201

1, a year after it was stopped in the sand and communication stopped.

Both outlived and outperformed expectations, on the opposite side of Mars. Rovers of the size of the golf cart were designed to work as geologists in just three months, after bouncing into our planetary neighbors within the cushioning air bags in January 2004. They rocketed from Cape Canaveral a month besides 2003.

Nowadays, Opportunity is far easier to say, than the Spirit, project manager John Callas told The Associated Press. , "he said." But every day that goes away, and at some point you must say 'enough' and continue with your life. "

Deputy project scientist Abigail Fraeman was a 16-year-old high school student when Opportunity reached Mars; he was inside the control center as part of an outreach Inspired, Fraeman became a planetary scientist, joined NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and graduated a representative scientific project for Opportunity. "It gives you an idea of ​​how long this mission , "he said .." Opportunity is simply a workhorse … it's really a testament, in my opinion, how well the mission is designed and how careful the team is in the operation of the vehicle. "

instead of checking the dust storm as bad luck, Callas considers it "good luck that we have given many possible storms over the years." Global dust storms are usually kick up every few years, and "we have gone a long time without one." Unlike NASA 's nuclear-powered Curiosity rover still chugging along with The Mars, Opportunity and Spirit has never been designed to endure such a bad time.

Steve Cornquel, Cornell University's leading scientist for Opportunity and Spirit, takes into account an angry storm of a "noble way" for the completion of the mission. "You could have lost a lot of money over the years against Opportunity," Squyres told AP Tuesday.

The greatest gift of rovers, according to Squyres, provides a geologic record in two different areas where water flows once in March

NASA last heard from Opportunity on June 10. The overseers try planes to arouse the rover, create and send command after the command, every month. Eventually, the Martian sky was cleaned for daylight to reach the solar panels of the rover, but no response yet. Now cooler and darker on Mars, more prospects are passing.

Engineers thought that internal rover clocks could be scoured during long delays, interrupting the rover's sleep cycle and draining batteries on the board. Really frustrating, according to Callas, does not know why Opportunity – or Spirit – has failed.

Now in Curiosity and the newcomer InSight lander to bring the legacy, he said, with the spacecraft in orbit around Mars.

As for Opportunity, "It gave us a bigger world," Callas says. "Mars is now part of our neighborhood."

___

The Department of Health and Science of the Associate Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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