US space agency NASA Will start its effort to restore communication with the Mars rover Opportunity.
In a recent announcement, NASA said it would start a 45-day effort of active attempts to restore communications with Opportunity once heavens above the rover cleared to a sufficient degree, Xinhua reported.
The rover was out of contact since early June, when a major dust storm deprived the rover of solar energy and the storm is evaporating.
“The dust haze produced by the Martian global dust storm of 2018 is among the most extensive on record, but all indications are it is coming to a close,” said Rich Zurek, project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Zurek said in the statement that there had been no signs of dust storms over 3,000 kilometers of Opportunity”for some time.”
John Callas, Opportunity project director at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement that”assuming that we hear back from Opportunity, we will begin the process of its own standing and bringing it back on line.”
But, NASA’s strategy attracted criticism because it restricted the busy part of the recovery to 45 days.
Mike Seibert, a former flight director and rover driver for Opportunity reported that Jet Propulsion Laboratory under NASA once attempted”active listening” of Spirit, the twin of Opportunity, for 10 months in 2010 and 2011 when that rover stopped transmitting before giving up.
Callas said that if Opportunity did not respond to communications attempts after that 45-day effort, it probably meant the spacecraft had suffered a mission-ending malfunction.
“We will keep trying to receive our Martian friend back online. We will not give up on #Oppy even after the 45 days of plan we have set in place!” Tweeted Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for sciencefiction.