Opportunity rover goes dark during Mars dust storm

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has stopped responding in the midst of a large dust storm on the planet’s surface.

In an update published on YouTube, NASA stated that Opportunity did not respond to a direct attempt at contact.

The space agency assumes that the rover’s batteries are in an emergency low-power mode after they reached critically-low levels.

This low-power mode shuts down all of the explorer’s operations, except its mission clock, until it has gained enough energy from its solar panels to return to normal.

NASA said the dust storm which its rover is caught in covers a quarter of the Martian surface, meaning it will take a long time before it has a chance of resuming communications.

This is assuming the rover is not too damaged following its exposure to the fierce dust storm.

Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and was originally only meant to operate for 90 days – but has remained active for 14 years.

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Opportunity rover goes dark during Mars dust storm