LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) – NASA's Opportunity Rover has celebrated its 15th anniversary since landing on Mars on Thursday. But the special moment was a bit bitter.
The spacecraft has not been heard since last June a dust storm occurred on the planet. Although the storm eventually has calmed down and the Martian sky has cleared, the Rover has not communicated with Earth since then.
"Fifteen years on the surface of Mars is a testimony not only of a magnificent exploration machine, but also of the dedicated and talented team behind it, who has allowed us to expand our space to discover the Red Planet," says John Callas, Project Manager Opportunity at NASA Laboratory for Reactive Movements in Pasadena, California.
"However, this anniversary can not help, but it is a bit bitter, as we do not know the status of the Rover at the moment. We do our best to communicate with Opportunity, but over time the probability of successful contact with Rover continues decreases, "he said.
The Opportunity mission continues at a stage where JPL engineers send commands as well as listening to burst signals. If the engineers hear from the Rover, they could try to recover, the team said.
The ability to land on Mars on January 24, 2004 The golf cart rover is designed to travel 1006 meters and run on the Red Planet for 90 Martian days. In fact, he spent more than 45 kilometers and recorded his 5000-year Martian Day as early as February 2018.
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