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NASA Space Science Technology

Thick Dust Alters NASA Mars Rover Plans 97

coondoggie writes "NASA's long-running Mars rover Opportunity is getting ready for the harsh Martian winter, but this year for the first time in its nearly eight-year history it needs a sunnier location to continue its work. NASA said the rover, which depends on solar power for energy, is sitting just south of Mars' equator and has worked through four Martian southern hemisphere winters. Being closer to the equator than its now defunct twin rover, Spirit, Opportunity has not needed to stay on a Sun-facing slope during previous winters but now its solar panels carry a thicker coating of Martian dust than before."
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Thick Dust Alters NASA Mars Rover Plans

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  • ugg splogs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @07:45PM (#38604822)

    why are we reading stories about Nasa on some shitty "network" splog laden with adverts ?

    we should be reading about this on Nasa's site the internet was supposed to cut out the middleman instead its full of shitty sites who do nothing but take without giving anything back.

    news for nerds ? news for desperate blog owners

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:02PM (#38604982) Homepage

    Many options were considered, none found effective and reliable against the fine, dry dust on Mars. In fact that was the whole reason the original mission was limited to three months, if they knew a good way to remove it they would have. Luckily winds clear the panels from time to time, the weather hasn't helped recently but it's still running after 8 years and tilting towards the sun is no big deal. Why would you bother to change a design that works so well? Maybe give it a slightly bigger solar panel so it has a bit better margins but overall there's no reason to change it. By the way, how many times do you think this exact suggestion has come up over the last 8 years?

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:17PM (#38605120)

    lol, how did people miss this? We've known mars has storms since we got decent telescopes.

System restarting, wait...