, 16 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Sad news. Mars rover #Opportunity is probably done. Sometime tonight, a team @NASAJPL will make their final attempt to contact #Oppy. If they can't, they'll likely call the mission. Here's what happened... 1/
She was bouncing along, doing well, until a massive dust storm engulfed all of Mars in June 2018, knocking out communications with the team on earth. They haven’t heard from her since. It’s unclear exactly what happened... 2/
The last message they received was basically, “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” They hoped that the windy season would clear dust off the solar panels (if that was the problem). Since then they've been pinging her again and again, every way they knew… 3/
As far as I can tell, this is the last image #Opportunity took. From Sol 5111. 4/
Winter is coming. The windy season, which runs from November – January has come to an end. Bad news for Oppy. It'll be dark and temps could reach -100C. One key way she stays warm is by moving around. 5/
If components haven't broken already, the extreme cold will likely serve the final blow, per John Callas at JPL. If the solar panels do start to sip energy from the sun and feed it to the battery… 6/
Oppy’s emergency heaters will kick in and it’ll spend that energy warming its little robot heart, which contains its most important components. It probably won't be enough, going in to winter, to move around and survive. 7/
If you’re holding out hope, just know, people have been getting hired away from the team since last June as tasks dried up. NASA admins will announce the final decision tomorrow at 11AM PST, but it’s not looking good. That said… 8/
The world should feel great about the life of Oppy. Supposed to only survive for 90 days, she thrived for 15+ years! Drove over 28 miles! ON MARS!!! 9/
She, along with Spirit, helped us confirm that different types of water once sat/flowed on the surface of Mars, and that the environments could’ve been hospitable to life. 10/
So, cheers to Opportunity, Spirit and the entire team around the world that, since 2000, have furthered our understanding of the red planet and of the possibility of life existing elsewhere. 11/11
I don’t have a soundcloud, but I do have a podcast. It’s all about a giant earthquake that could level LA at any time. An estimated 1800 dead, collapsed buildings, the LA you know ... gone. The good news? You don’t have to be a victim. Listen: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the…
Update: the final commands have been sent. We’ll know for certain if Oppy is going to respond by 4AM. Timing has to do with a “possible downlink window via the orbiters” per the Deputy Project Scientist, Abigail Fraeman.
It’s important to remember the humans behind these missions too.
Update: It’s official. #RIPOppy
With loss of power, clock on the rover got scrambled. Oppy couldn’t tell when to rest and conserve energy. Final command tried to reset that.
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