The Opportunity Rover passed the first photo after the «wintering»

© NASAМарсоход OpportunityThe Opportunity Rover passed the first photo after the «wintering»© NASA

. The Rover-a veteran Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, successfully survived the eighth winter on the red planet’s surface and marked the occasion with a new portion of the panoramic photos of the edge of the endeavour crater, according to NASA.

«We were concerned that the Rover’s solar panels can have as much covered with dust this year, as in the worst winter seasons on Mars. This did not happen – on the contrary, the wind, just like two years ago, blew off the dust and cleaned the solar panels. If it will happen in the future, the Opportunity will be able to survive not only the winter, but the next «big» dust storm, which may occur in 2018,» said Jennifer Herman (Herman Jennifer) from the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena (USA).

The Rover Opportunity operating on the surface of Mars for 13 years, has survived the most difficult months of the Martian winter – the cold and dark time of year, when the red planet is farthest from the Sun.

As noted by Herman, the only source of heat and energy onboard Opportunity, unlike the Curiosity Rover, equipped with radioisotope generators are solar panels, the efficiency of which decreases sharply at the onset of winter and autumn for two reasons.

In addition to increasing the distance between the Sun and Mars, the Rover’s life is complicated by dust storms that start in the late Martian autumn and continued almost throughout the winter. These storms cover battery Rover a large amount of sand, which further reduces their efficiency.

NASA engineers found a clever way out of this dangerous situation, stopping the Rover every winter and fall and tilting its solar panels so that they will simultaneously get the most light, and the sand will not accumulate on their surface. In the presence of very steep hills this allows the Opportunity to continue to move around on Mars and explore its surface even during the winter.

Three years ago, Opportunity has already shown that water is indeed present on the surface of Mars in liquid form in the past, thus confirming the data obtained by the Curiosity Rover in 2012.

At the moment, the Rover is a veteran is 52 «life» – originally NASA had planned that the Rover will last only three months, but he is already a year continues to set new records. Opportunity is now in excellent condition, and it works, after a recent reformat of memory is on the cutting edge.

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