The dust has cleared after the enormous sand storm for NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity to be spotted from space.
On Thursday (Sept. 20), the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) snapped a photo of the silent, stationary Opportunity in Perseverance Valley, on the rim of the Red Planet’s 22 kilometers (14-mile-wide) Endeavour Crater.
A high-resolution snapshot of Mars taken by the HiRISE orbital camera from a height of 267 km (166 miles) revealed Opportunity’s location in Mars’ Perseverance Valley.
If you look carefully, you can see a tiny white dot in the center of the white square. That’s Opportunity.
The storm was one of several that stirred up enough dust to enshroud most of the Red Planet and block sunlight from reaching the surface. The lack of sunlight caused the solar-powered Opportunity to go into hibernation.
The rover’s team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, hasn’t heard from it since. On Sept. 11, JPL began increasing the frequency of commands it beams to the 14-year-old rover.
“NASA still hasn’t heard from the Opportunity rover, but at least we can see it again.
“A new image produced by HiRISE, a high-resolution camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), shows a small object on the slopes of the Red Planet’s Perseverance Valley.
“That object is Opportunity, which was descending into the Martian valley when a dust storm swept over the region a little more than 100 days ago.”
– The space agency writes in a press release.