Opportunity rover should wait out Martian storm

Opportunity rover

An artist’s conception shows NASA’s Opportunity rover under sunnier conditions. (NASA Illustration)

NASA has had to put its power-starved Opportunity rover into an induced coma on Mars, but that drastic maneuver — plus some luck — should be enough to save it from one of the worst dust storms ever observed on the Red Planet.

That doesn’t mean everything’s cool at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which has overseen the rover’s work on Mars for nearly 15 years.

“We have a very tight emotional connection with it,” John Callas, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, told GeekWire today during a teleconference.

“It’s like you have a loved one in a coma in the hospital,” he explained. “The doctors are telling you that, ‘OK, you’ve just got to give it time and she’ll wake up. All the vital signs are good, so it’s just waiting it out.’ But if it’s your 97-year-old grandmother, you’re going to be very concerned. And so we are.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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