Mars dust storm knocks out rover

Houston Chronicle - - NATION | WORLD -

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s seem­ingly un­stop­pable Mars rover Op­por­tu­nity has been knocked out by a gi­gan­tic dust storm that is en­velop­ing the red planet and blot­ting out the sun.

Of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day they’re hope­ful the rover will sur­vive the storm, which al­ready cov­ers one-quar­ter of Mars and is ex­pected to en­cir­cle the planet in an­other few days. It could be weeks or even months, though, un­til the sky clears enough for sun­light to reach the Mar­tian sur­face and recharge Op­por­tu­nity’s bat­ter­ies through its so­lar pan­els. The storm has been grow­ing since the end of May with un­prece­dented speed.

NASA launched the twin rovers Op­por­tu­nity and Spirit in 2003 to study Mar­tian rocks and soil. They landed in 2004. Spirit hasn’t worked for sev­eral years. Op­por­tu­nity, how­ever, has kept ex­plor­ing well past its ex­pected mis­sion life­time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.