Huge Martian dust storm may be killing NASA’s Opportunity rover

The little engine that could on Mars may finally have found a hill too high to climb according to this report, although there is hope. I have a special place in my heart for these rovers, as an engineer, anything that works this far beyond its design is just a testament to the great work of the folks at JPL.

I love it when engineers hit a homerun. Its like when Roebling designed the Brooklyn bridge. The thing was designed 6 time stronger than it needed to be. Thanks to the faulty wire in the suspension cables from a crooked wire manufacturer, its only 4 times stronger. Even today, thanks to proper maintenance, its a safe and strong bridge at the ripe old age of 125.

Back to the rover, it was supposed to run for 3 months. Its sibling rover lasted about 6 years, finally breaking in 2010. This one may finally be broken, we won’t know until the current storm ends, but it is showing signs of ending. Still, if it does break, lasting nearly 15 years when both were expected to last 3 months is fantastic. That’s only bested by the Voyager probes. They are in their 40s!

Amazing!

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