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End of an era: Mars rover Opportunity dead after 15 years

qubit

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Nasa declared the 15-year mission of the veteran Mars rover Opportunity finally over on Wednesday, crediting the robot as having “transformed our understanding of our planet”.

The golf buggy-sized vehicle last made contact with Earth eight months ago, after being caught in a global dust storm.

Announcing the mission’s end, Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa, said the rover had “remained silent” after a last-ditch effort to contact Opportunity on Tuesday.

Despite the loss, the mood at the press conference at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was one of celebration on Wednesday.


Shame, but nothing lasts forever, especially not in the extreme environment of Mars. Great mission and all who were involved with it should feel proud.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/feb/13/nasa-makes-final-attempt-to-communicate-with-mars-rover-opportunity
 

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So sad. It far outlived it’s expected life and has given us a ton of knowledge!
 

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NASA frankly wins. I hugely admire what they do and the devotion the scientists have. Makes you proud to be America... oh crap. I'm a Brit and our space program is doomed in about one month... sad face.

Our next planetary mission is a couple of burgers at Planet Hollywood.
 
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When something lasts almost 60 times more than what was designed for, you just take your hat off and never put it back on.

Imagine if a smartphone would last 60 times more than the typical maximum 3 to 5 years of use...
 

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qubit

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Next time they need more horse power! I saw another article on social media where they said it traveled around 28 miles in that time.

Not taking away from the effort or results, but such a small amount of travel is but a drop int he bucket.

HUGE image of the path can be found on this site...
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/13/science/opportunity-rover-mars-map.html?fbclid=IwAR34JDiOF2SijQNnkz6B_HxoMa5dAu7Q218JsAbKOR2lbFyL-FMlwDu6Rfk
Yeah, I was surprised when I saw that a while back.

These things move at an absolute snail's pace. I mean seriously, you couldn't walk that slow. And despite that extreme caution, they can still get themselves in trouble. I reckon better AI in the future will help with performance and staying out of trouble. What we might find obvious, the AI may not be able to handle at all.
 

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These things move at an absolute snail's pace.
I guess, if you have to turn 14 minutes ahead of time, even a whole MPH would cause a ton more problems...lol
 
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Next time they need more horse power! I saw another article on social media where they said it traveled around 28 miles in that time.

Not taking away from the effort or results, but such a small amount of travel is but a drop int he bucket.

HUGE image of the path can be found on this site...
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/13/science/opportunity-rover-mars-map.html?fbclid=IwAR34JDiOF2SijQNnkz6B_HxoMa5dAu7Q218JsAbKOR2lbFyL-FMlwDu6Rfk
28 miles of rugged crators...but yeah right.
 

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Now it can keep the three Russian Doggos Dezik, Tsygan, and Lisa company in the depths of space.
 

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Just a random thought....

Any bets as to if Musk says he will go and get it?
 
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Just a random thought....

Any bets as to if Musk says he will go and get it?

I hate the fact NASA calls the rover dead. Its not dead that we KNOW of. In 6 months a wind storm could brush its solar panels off and it could re-awaken and phone home as its programmed to do. As long as the MRO is up there, NASA/DSN will hear its call. There is also a possibility of another rover being landed near enough to it.. give its arm a small brush and brush them damn panels off. lol.
 
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I hate the fact NASA calls the rover dead. Its not dead that we KNOW of. In 6 months a wind storm could brush its solar panels off and it could re-awaken and phone home as its programmed to do. As long as the MRO is up there, NASA/DSN will hear its call. There is also a possibility of another rover being landed near enough to it.. give its arm a small brush and brush them damn panels off. lol.
I agree. It would be more appropriate to say it's "mission has been a success," which given it was only supposed to last 90 days, damn right it has been!
 
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I don't know much about this type of thing, but I heard the last message received from Opportunity was basically "My battery is low and it is getting dark". That hit me right in the feels. In all seriousness I think the mission lasting as long as it did was a success in itself.
 
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The problem is that most likely the batteries are now cactus as the batteries were heated by two different methods, power from the batteries themselves powering electric heaters and a small RTG (Radioisotope thermal generator) to function the whole time, when the RTGs were new, they'd be enough but they have decayed too much to key the batteries warm enough on their own.
 

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nasa may attempt to periodically wake the rover again if we get anouther dust storm

the mission is over yea

the batteries are fine they won't work well enough todo useful work without the heaters but if the rover gets light again at some point there should be enough power to restart the systems after which we will see what comes back online if anything

you don't just abandon equipment on a anouther planet without checking every so often to see if something has changed
 

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Just a random thought....

Any bets as to if Musk says he will go and get it?
I say no. Musk has said his Mars missions aren’t round trip. The will be one way colonization missions. I don’t think his holdings can get spread any further.
 
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so sad about this :( good doggo doe. yah did good son!
 
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I wonder what processor it had :cool: 15 years that's like single core era or Pentium D
 

qubit

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I wonder what processor it had :cool: 15 years that's like single core era or Pentium D
Indeed, it's easy to forget how far technology has come since this probe was designed.
 
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When something lasts almost 60 times more than what was designed for, you just take your hat off and never put it back on.

Imagine if a smartphone would last 60 times more than the typical maximum 3 to 5 years of use...
That's how things were made back then that's why you have machines and appliances for the past two centuries still working. :)
 

FordGT90Concept

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Next time they need more horse power! I saw another article on social media where they said it traveled around 28 miles in that time.

Not taking away from the effort or results, but such a small amount of travel is but a drop in the bucket.

HUGE image of the path can be found on this site...
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/13/science/opportunity-rover-mars-map.html?fbclid=IwAR34JDiOF2SijQNnkz6B_HxoMa5dAu7Q218JsAbKOR2lbFyL-FMlwDu6Rfk
The problem isn't power, it's panic. The computers in it can only do so much to pilot it. If it runs into an obstacle it can't figure out a solution for, it sends a message to JPL with footage of the obstacle, NASA then has to give it instructions on how to proceed. All operations were tested on an identical rover here on Earth before they were sent to the rover. That process, if memory serves, took about a day. I think there were three teams working around the clock on it and their schedules were synchronized to the satellites that communicate with it (~25 hour days if memory serves).

Some day, the rover may end up in a museum. Someone will eventually mount a rescue mission.
 
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qubit

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For all we know, it could have fallen into a crevasse and lost communication. It could still be operational...just waiting for instructions again. They know that but there's nothing that can be done about it at this point. Some day, the rover may end up in a museum. Someone will eventually mount a rescue mission.
Aww shucks, they just need to send a mechanic to fix it. I've got a mate who's up for it. :p

But seriously, with the improvement in hardware and software since this was designed, I'd hope that a modern equivalent rover would be able to handle more difficult problems and also move faster.
 

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It ran on solar panels and lithium-ion batteries. Solar panels were likely covered in dust and the lithium-ion batteries are 3-5 years beyond their service life (hopefully they didn't explode while it hibernated). So yes, it desperately needs maintenance. Assuming the batteries didn't explode, it likely just needs them replaced and the solar panels cleaned. The more time that passes though, the worse shape it will be in...


Here is Mars rovers' Earthborn twins (left to right: Spirit/Opportunity, Sojourner, Curiosity):
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA15280


Where it presumably sits (end of the trail):



Curiosity lost contact yesterday due to storm. It's got an RTG power source though so doesn't need the sun at all. It'll probably report back in when the storm clears.
 
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I'd hope that a modern equivalent rover would be able to handle more difficult problems and also move faster.
Something like Boston Dynamics doggy to cover more distance ? :)
 
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