Last image from Opportunity. Panoramic Camera photo taken on Sol 5111, June 10, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL/CALTECH

Due to a massive dust storm on the Red Planet, NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has remained silent for well over three months.

No signal from the robot has been heard since Sol 5111 on June 10, 2018.

It is expected that solar powered Opportunity experienced a low-power fault. Perhaps, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault, as well. The dust storm on Mars continues to subside. The science team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver. In addition, commanding “sweep and beeps” throughout the daily DSN pass is another avenue to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Memory issue

Meanwhile, now over two weeks ago, NASA’s nuclear powered Curiosity Mars rover also experienced a problem. Its last images were transmitted back on September 15, 2018.

One of last images from Curiosity Mars rover, taken by Front Hazcam Right B on September 15, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In this case a memory storage issue preventing the robot from sending science and engineering data, although the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has stated that the rover remains in its normal mode and is otherwise healthy and responsive.

Engineers continue to better analyze the issue. Because the amount of data coming down to Earth from Curiosity is limited, it may take some time for the engineering team to diagnose the problem.

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