What Opportunity Rover’s Survival Deadline means


On 30th of Thursday, NASA announced Mars rover Opportunity’s recovery deadline after battling a dust storm for the last few months and the company not giving any information on it. According to scientists who are part of the project or at least familiar with it stated that the grizzled robot would not receive too much justice because of the new timeline.

More about the rover

The rover, after launching in 2003 and landing on Mars on January 2004, since 10th of June it has been ignoring its humans because its solar panels were blocked from the sun by a fierce dust storm enveloping the Red Planet. The storm has begun to settle down, and the team’s high expectations include the change of the rover to power again after it makes contact with the Sun’s rays and to come back to work after such a long break.

The rover might not have enough time for recovery

According to scientists familiar to the mission, the new schedule NASA has put up limits the hardworking rover’s recovery time. A science team collaborator on Opportunity and a planetary scientist at Arizona State University, Tanya Harrison, told Space.com “Opportunity has everything going for her.” In addition to this, she also said: “We’re not giving it a fair shot.” It all depends on how the Martian weather will align with the timeline.

Take a look at what NASA planned

NASA’s plan starts with the team waiting for the tau to lower to 1.5, the tau measuring how much dust clouds the air. When the storm was at its pick, the tau was around 10, a level which according to a rover expert is terrifying. After that, the team will start the active-listening period which will last for 45 days and command will be sent to the rover in order to make it respond.


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