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Conditions May Finally Improve for Opportunity

Was pointing out, a month and a half ago, that three weeks had passed since the last contact with Opportunity and that the more time that passes, the greater the risk that the next report will indicate a failure. Yet the storm continued, so the lack of contact did not, and still does not, indicate that it actually crippled the rover for good. As of now, however, this appears to be changing, and the team is getting ready for recovery efforts, stating that they have reasons for optimism, but also that, even if communication will be restored, there are risks that the rover will never be the same.
As the article states, Opportunity is not likely to wake up until the atmospheric opacity in the area falls below 2.0, and even after a first contact, assuming there will be one, there may be weeks before a second, and a lot more time will pass before the rover’s condition will be assessed and the next steps decided. But, of course, all of that is theoretical at the moment, since it all relies on the fact that Opportunity survived in a condition that will allow it to sufficiently recharge once enough sunlight will again reach its solar panels and communicate in some way, even by sending a simple beep at first. If the conditions will improve and the rover won’t give any sign, it’ll be a case of no news being the worst kind of news.

I guess it’s still a case of waiting and seeing, as it’s been ever since last contact, but now there’s finally something to wait for, though it remains to be seen whether the news will be good or bad. Still, while we are waiting, those who, as the article puts it, miss Opportunity as much as the rover’s team does can send an electronic postcard to share their thoughts. There are a few nice pictures to pick from, but the messages are limited to 150 characters, so you’ll have to be very brief.


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