Nasa hopes to continue the mission when, or if, it regains contact with the robot. Studying their physics is critical to understanding the ancient and modern Martian climate, said Rich Zurek, chief scientist for the Mars Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Scott Maxwell, a former Mars rover driver who led the team driving Opportunity and its twin Spirit for the first several years, says via email to Fortune, "I refuse to believe that anything can kill Opportunity-I half think she'll still be roving Mars when humans are forgotten!" The swirling Martian dust storm that raised the atmospheric opacity, or "tau" - the veil of dust blowing around - has blotted out the sun above Opportunity and has continued to intensify.
In 2007, a massive dust storm kept the rover silent for a few days. The doctors are telling you to give it time, and the vital signs are good.
An enormous dust storm that may soon encircle Mars is threatening one of NASA's rovers on the planet's surface, with the vehicle becoming dormant and unresponsive at a site called Perseverance Valley, U.S. space agency officials said on Wednesday. "We are listening every day for possible signals from the rover", he said, likening the atmosphere among colleagues to having a loved one lying in a coma. It's been testing to determine whether the valley was sculpted by flowing water, wind erosion or combination of factors. NASA engineers attempted to make scheduled contact with the Opportunity Rover on June 12 but did not hear back.
NASA engineers last received a transmission from the almost 15-year-old Opportunity rover on Sunday morning.
The Rover will need to know when the Sun will return.
Opportunity would normally be able to generate over 600 watt-hours of energy per day with its panels at this time of the Martian year - which at its station is entering the northern hemisphere summer.
The biggest problem for NASA is the temperature Opportunity.
The rover "has made a number of discoveries about the Red Planet including dramatic evidence that long ago at least one area of Mars stayed wet for an extended period and that conditions could have been suitable for sustaining microbial life", Nasa said in a statement. Even if the unit gets into a small storm deposited on photoelectric Converter layer of dust can be enough to useful surface, able to convert solar energy into electrical energy, decreased significantly.