An artist’s depiction of one of many twin Mars Exploration Rovers, nicknamed Spirit and Opportunity. Opportunity has been offline for weeks as a consequence of low energy brought on by an enormous mud storm. Engineers have a rockin’ playlist of wake-up songs for the rover.
Engineers with NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover program have been left hanging on like a yo-yo for 61 days now, after the area company’s Opportunity rover lost power during a Martian dust storm — however they’ve began greeting every new Martian day the rover might name with a themed track.
On Aug. four — Opportunity’s 5,165th day on Mars — the rover was nonetheless asleep. But mission employees at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, hoped to encourage the robotic to show again on by taking part in Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” within the management room, starting of a brand new custom to attend out the storm.
“Morale has been a little shaky,” Michael Staab, an engineer for this system at JPL who helped provoke the themed day by day wake-up track for the people ready for Opportunity’s lengthy and nerve-wracking nap to finish, informed Space.com. “This is the first time she [Opportunity] has stopped talking to us and not resumed communication when we expected.” [The Epic Mars Dust Storm of 2018 Explained]
The musical initiative within the management room is not solely new: Mission group members celebrated a day by day wake-up track when Opportunity first landed on Mars practically 15 years in the past, in January 2004, Staab stated. The rover’s mission was initially deliberate to final simply 90 days, however as soon as it grew to become clear that Opportunity can be staying in enterprise on the Red Planet, the custom light.
Then, in May, got here a mud storm to finish all mud storms, which roiled across the whole planet and blotted out the solar — an awfully hazardous scenario for a solar-powered robotic. Opportunity hasn’t produced a lot as a chord, a lot much less extra substantive information, since June 10, according to NASA. (NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, in contrast, is nuclear-powered and thus has not suffered the identical sick results from the mud storm because the Opportunity rover.)
“That’s a long time to not hear from your rover, and we don’t know what it’s doing,” Staab stated. And the engineers are feeling the change. “We still have things to do; we still have work to get done. But it’s definitely slowed down a bit.”
So mission group members have seized a couple of alternatives to maintain their spirits up, Staab stated. An casual betting pool is monitoring guesses of when the rover will lastly name residence — dates vary from early July to mid-September.
And they’ve began constructing a themed playlist to mark every new Martian day within the management room. For occasion, Opportunity did not reply because the group listened to Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” — though the band itself did. “The band actually reached out and was really excited that we were using one of their songs to wake up a Mars rover,” Staab stated. (We’ve gathered all of the songs the group has already listened to whereas ready for the rover, plus future choices they’re contemplating, in a Spotify playlist in case you’d prefer to pay attention alongside.)
Opportunity did not chime in as its controllers listened to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” or Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” both, however the engineers aren’t out of songs but. “We’ll just keep playing until she decides to talk to us,” Staab stated.
Maybe within the coming days the opening line “Hello, I’ve waited here for you everlong” would be the magic allure that revives (robotic) “Life on Mars,” music followers on the group hope.
Although the mud storm has been clearing for about two weeks, NASA cannot inform how lengthy it’d take Opportunity’s batteries to cost up sufficient for the rover to lastly name its people — or whether or not Opportunity will sleep endlessly, for that matter.
“It could take weeks — hopefully not months,” Staab stated. “I wish we had something to share; I wish we had good news. But we keep listening every day.”
And, fingers crossed, the rover will take to coronary heart one other upcoming suggestion: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”