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.”