Tag Archives: Opportunity

NASA is Losing Hope to Revive Opportunity Rover

The clock is ticking for the 15-year-old Mars rover, Opportunity. After six months of attempts, scientists from NASA have failed to revive the rover.

In June of 2018, the rover was unable to avoid a planet-wide wind storm on Mars, which blocked out the sun for several months. Opportunity is powered by solar energy and without any new energy, the rover’s batteries are drained.

In those months since Opportunity went off online, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California has sent over 600 commands to the rover in hopes of reviving it. However, the warmer temperatures and wind knocking off the dust on the rover have not helped.

John Callas, the mission project manager for JPL said to reporters, “We’ve got another week, we are running out of time.”

The Martian winter has ended a rover’s mission before; it ended Spirit’s mission in 2011. But winter on Mars is still months away. However, the temperatures are dropping in the southern hemisphere where Opportunity is located right now.

The efforts to revive Opportunity have lasted just as long as Spirit’s attempts, but JPL has tried multiple long shot attempts. JPL had plans to head to NASA’s headquarters to talk about the next options for Opportunity, but that was postponed due to the government shutdown, which just ended on Friday.

Opportunity has lived up to its name. It has brought a ton of opportunity to everyone wanting to learn more about Mars, but it has done the impossible as well. Opportunity’s mission was supposed to last only 90 days when it landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, but it has lasted over 5,480 days and the rover has traveled about 28 miles in that time span.

It would, of course, be sad to see the end of NASA’s most successful mission but in the end, the many opportunities that Opportunity has brought to us are not to be forgotten.

Brrr! It’s cold out there

The phenomenon has lasted since the beginning of my middle school career. The winter is coming to an end and there’s that one random day of warmth. The temperature has somehow skyrocketed from 20 degrees or less up to a roaring 65! People tend to freak out when this happens. They see the glimmer of hope that all of this is going to be over. The cold is going away! No more snow!

However, this is just a fluke;the cold comes back full force later that week, or worse, the very next day. Now 65 degrees really isn’t even that warm-in my humble opinion-but that doesn’t stop us. Students break out their summer dresses and shorts, attempting a bizarre ritual where we try to force the cold season to end by sheer willpower. This happens every year, without fail.

People try so hard to force a new season to begin and move on to something else. We know we can’t though. We have to take things one day at a time and let them run their course. You should really enjoy each season, one at a time. For one thing, you catch colds and have them spread across campus when you don’t dress appropriately for the weather. Also, you’re rushing through your college career.

snowEven though college is a trying and stressful time for a lot of people, it’s also an experience that will impact you and your choices for the rest of your life. You can’t simply skip that. Take everything one day at a time and get as much as you can out of this before you’re on your own in the big bad world. In the blink of an eye, you’ll have graduated and be responsible for taking care of yourself and building a career.

There are just so many things you can do in college to maximize your experience. Even if you feel like your workload is large, clubs can be a lifesaver, an oasis. Clubs can provide the mental break from all of the homework and planning that you are constantly busy with. Clubs can also provide you with connections and strong friendships that can help you later on in life.

Mars One Mission is narrowing down

After the Mars One Project announced that they were accepting applications in 2013, interest was evident. This not-for-profit foundation, now responsible for creating the first mission that will see humans living on another planet, had 202,586 original applicants. Now only 100 hopefuls remain: 50 men and 50 women. They’ll be narrowed down farther, to about 16, before 2024, when the first team of human Martians is scheduled to depart for their  new home.

In upcoming selection rounds, candidates will be set against every imaginable hardship of a permanent Martian settlement. They’ll be trained as if they were really going (as a few will) and eliminated or passed on their teamwork abilities. “Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges.” said chief medical officer Dr. Norbert Kraft M.D.

Graphic from Mars One
“They’ll build up the settlement in order to ready the planet for further teams.” Graphic from Mars One.

Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies, and Mars One’s mission plan includes technologies that are well-tested and easily available from major companies. However, according to the missions website, “redundancy is extremely important because, unlike the crew aboard the International Space Station, the Mars One crew can’t abandon their mission in case of an emergency.” This redundancy will help to eliminate problems faced by either equipment or supplies failures.

Despite careful planning and minimal risk, there’s still the possibility of danger for the selected Martians. Why are we sending people, then, to do what robots like Spirit and Opportunity already are? Simply put, humans are just better. Unfortunately, rovers are still very limited to the distance they can cover in a day and the obstacles such as rocks and gullies they must overcome. Something that a human could step over remains insurmountable to the rovers.

Besides, each of the selected candidates will have a one-way ticket to Mars. During one of the last great adventures for humanity, they’ll build up the settlement in order to ready the planet for further teams. Eventually Mars One will work towards possible widespread human population. This real-life science fiction story will be an amazing opportunity and experience not only for the individuals participating, but for all of mankind.

The ride to the planet alone should take at least a year. Once the original team has made themselves at home, the next  will be on their way and ready to begin helping with expansion, so if this excites you, why not apply?