Over the Martian Valley of Perseverance currently swirling sand storm of unprecedented strength, which may become a tomb for the legendary Opportunity Rover. The beginning of the violence of elements in NASA noticed June 1, to date, the storm covered an area of 18 million sq. km And there are no predictions on how long it will last.

Unit Opportunity, like its twin Spirit, all my energy gets from a set of solar panels and constantly releases it to the heating of the batteries, as the nights on Mars, the temperature drops to -143 °C. it is believed that Spirit in 2010, cooled down to such a state that it was unable to reboot and get in touch. Opportunity while you’re ahead more — this Rover has already worked for almost 15 years instead of the planned 90 days. And to be in the middle of a storm he himself had experienced.

In 2007, Opportunity had survived the storm in which the ratio of the opacity of the atmosphere of Mars reached 5.5 tau. Now the situation is much worse, opacity reached 10.8 tau, and NASA gave the Rover to stop all work, disable most of the modules and redirect energy for heating and maintenance of telemetry. As of Sunday, June 10, Opportunity was still functioning, but what’s next?

Martian storm is an amazing phenomenon that I do not want to be afraid, and to learn. For example, when the arrival of Mariner 9 in 1971 the storm shut down the entire planet and lasted for two months! This is partly why the new Mars Rover Curiosity is the source of nuclear energy to prevent a repetition of the fate Spirit. But here’s an interesting fact – in recent data from Opportunity body temperature was much higher than the calculated one, only -29 °C. the Storm somehow provides thermal insulation of the surface of the planet, and if the cooling is slow, the Rover will be able to hold out to the end, the scientists receive new valuable data about the Martian climate.
Source — NASA