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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm

Postby bmh67wa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:53 am

Story : https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7155





NASA engineers received a transmission from Opportunity on Sunday morning - a positive sign despite the worsening dust storm. Data from the transmission let engineers know the rover still has enough battery charge to communicate with ground controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Science operations remain suspended.

Sunday's transmission was especially good news considering the dust storm has intensified in the past several days. A dark, perpetual night has settled over the rover's location in Mars' Perseverance Valley. The storm's atmospheric opacity - the veil of dust blowing around, which can blot out sunlight -- is now much worse than a 2007 storm that Opportunity weathered. The previous storm had an opacity level, or tau, somewhere above 5.5; this new storm had an estimated tau of 10.8 as of Sunday morning.

Opportunity's team has requested additional communications coverage from NASA's Deep Space Network, a global system of antennas that talks to all the agency's deep space probes.

This latest data transmission showed the rover's temperature to be about minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius). One saving grace of dust storms is that they can actually limit the extreme temperature swings experienced on the Martian surface. The same swirling dust that blocks out sunlight also absorbs heat, raising the ambient temperature surrounding Opportunity.







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