On May 30, NASA’s Opportunity rover spotted a large-sized dust storm on Mars, and after that, the rover detected that the storm was getting bigger and bigger. The next data came in on 12th June, which informed that the Martian storm had reached 35 million square kilometers, around 14 million square miles, which hovered around a quarter of Mars. Recently, NASA has confirmed that the large storm is now a become a global dust event and it will continue for a longer period.
When the storm reached near the Opportunity rover, the rover went on power saving mode so that it can preserve the energy. However, the nuclear-powered Curiosity rover which is now on Mars exploring the planet has been working now and studying the storm effect. As per the report, if the Opportunity rover has the power, it will late use the power to keep the internal system warmer during the storm. The dust storm has affected the Opportunity rover as it prevents is to absorb energy from sun rays. On the other side, the heat absorbing dust is holding the temperatures around the Opportunity.
As per that NASA’s Rover Status report, NASA has not received any signal from the Opportunity yet. However, the recent study about the Opportunity Rover has informed that the batteries and electronic components of the Opportunity rover can survive in the storm and can stay warm. It will keep the parts functioning in the storm. It may be noted that in past Opportunity has faced serious weather conditions. In 2007, it detected a bigger dust storm on Mars, which was larger than the current dust storm. A series of dust storms have affected the rover, and now it is gone into power saving mode.
Alan Stern, the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, stated that Rovers are designed in such a way that they can survive the storms, but the intensity of the current storm is high. For now, it is expected that the rover will survive the storm again.