Opportunity Rover Makes it Through its 8th Winter

DooKey

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The Mars rover Opportunity has survived its 8th winter thanks to the Mars rover team using a tilted strategy for the rover during the winter months. Basically they make sure the rover is always tilted towards the sun and take extra care when in the fall and winter. Further, Opportunity has been on Mars since 2004 and was supposed to only have a mission duration of 90 Martian days. However, thanks to outstanding NASA engineers this rover is still going strong almost 14 years later and providing excellent science along the way. Opportunity is one tough robot.

Besides tilt and daylight length, other factors in Opportunity's power status include how much dust is on the solar array and in the sky. Wind can clean some dust off the array, but can also stir up dust storms that block sunlight and then drop dust onto the rover. Southern-hemisphere autumn and winter tend to have clear skies over Opportunity, but the amount of dust on the solar array going into autumn has varied year-to-year, and this year the array was dustier than in all but one of the preceding autumns.
 
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Hruodgar

Weaksauce
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yeah They do last.
spirit rover.png
 

Krenum

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Other then temperature variances, I guess i'm stuck in the hot sumer/snowy winter type mechanic of earth.

I'm sure it would have a similar climate to Earth had the core not gone cold and depleted the atmosphere. Although it still has a thin atmosphere.
 

sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
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I’m surprised they haven’t driven it there yet to meet up with Viking

they're close to each other but not that close. even pathfinder's rover would of taken 25+ years to reach viking if the lander hadn't shit the bed after 3 months.

32356_msl-4-sites-globe.jpg
 
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sirmonkey1985

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All planets with axial tilt experience seasons. IIRC Mercury is the only planet with negligible tilt.

i believe you are correct with mercury. although the weirdest one in the solar system is Uranus due to it laying on it's side it's seasons aren't effected by axial tilt but instead is effected by it's orbit around the sun so that 50% of it's orbit the northern half of the planet faces the sun and the other 50% the southern half of the planet faces the sun.
 

Dead Parrot

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Wish they would go back to this rover design. For the cost of one of the nuclear powered rovers, they could get 3 of these. A lower cost rover could be risked in places like Valles Marineris or the top of the giant volcano.

With the progress in smaller circuits, sensors and solar panels, the landing ball/platform for this type rover could 2nd as a stationary weather station.
 

BoogerBomb

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so they should have put wiper blades on the panels?

I have always wondered about this myself. Why do they not have a mechanism to clear off the panels. Yes I know its added weight but it could extend panel usefulness for a far longer time than the cost of that weight.

EDIT: After reading a few articles on the subject I can understand the difficulties that us simpletons wouldn't have considered, like the composition of the dust possibly causing scratches to the panel surface when being brushed off. From the sounds of it an electrostatic solution would probably be the best solution but good luck getting the funds for something like that.

Who knows maybe Swiffer can come up with a solution that doesn't scratch and can lift off the dust.
 
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sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
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I have always wondered about this myself. Why do they not have a mechanism to clear off the panels. Yes I know its added weight but it could extend panel usefulness for a far longer time than the cost of that weight.

EDIT: After reading a few articles on the subject I can understand the difficulties that us simpletons wouldn't have considered, like the composition of the dust possibly causing scratches to the panel surface when being brushed off. From the sounds of it an electrostatic solution would probably be the best solution but good luck getting the funds for something like that.

Who knows maybe Swiffer can come up with a solution that doesn't scratch and can lift off the dust.

The dust on Mars is an insanely fine powder. But you also have to remember most of these rovers were designed and started being built years before they launched so trying to change them takes a lot more work especially on the software side.
 
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