Tag Archives: Space mission

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.

Mission Abort: ISS in Danger of Being Abandoned

On Thursday, a Soyuz rocket carrying an American and a Russian had to abort its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station after the rocket suffered a failure that resulted in an emergency landing.

Astronauts Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague were the men who made the emergency landing. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, both men were very calm in the moment.  Bridenstine did have one communication issue with the astronauts as Hague was speaking in Russian to Bridenstine.

The International Space Station

The rocket, which was meant to go to the International Space Station, failed only two minutes after launch. The capsule fell at an altitude of 31 miles, which caused the men to experience gravitational forces 6-7 times the amount felt on Earth.

The failed attempt was the first manned mission for Russia in nearly three decades, although Russia has had to deal with failed missions involving unmanned missions.

Investigators are looking into why the spacecraft failed. Bridenstine has stated another mission, which involves taking a crew to the ISS in December, may be delayed.

The current crew at ISS which includes an American, a Russian, and a German, is scheduled to leave the space station in December. They could stay at the ISS until next year if needed, according to a Russian official.

If a crew cannot be brought to the ISS by the time the current crew leaves, the ISS may be abandoned for the time period.  That would be the first time since its launch in 1998. The ISS is expected to be fully operational until 2028.