back to article Martian weather has cleared at last: Now NASA's wondering, will Opportunity knock?

As skies clear over NASA's stricken Mars Rover, the clock has begun ticking for Opportunity to call home. A Martian storm, which engulfed NASA's solar-powered trundle-bot, Opportunity, is clearing, with boffins reporting that the amount of haze in the skies above the robot has finally dropped below 1.5 tau for two consecutive …

  1. b0llchit

    Not a chance

    > 45 days of 'WAKE UP' calls to be shouted at teenage rover

    Well, you /do/ know teenagers? They are notoriously difficult to wake and have an even shorter attention span than the round-trip time of a telephone call from good ol' earth. You can't even get a busy-signal from such a teenager.

    My guess is that /this/ particular teenager has found solace in the mobile era and is using the newly developed interplanetary internet service. The chat apps and robotic media are apparently very addictive. The CamBook site has all the nice and naughty bits one just needs to know.

    Just give up. You'll never get a teenager under control. Wait a few more years until the twenties are well upon the wires. The electronic juices will be under control by that time and some sense and coherence may return to possible communication.

    1. onefang

      Re: Not a chance

      "Wait a few more years until the twenties are well upon the wires."

      Then the teenager will call you, coz they want you to buy them a car for their 21st.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone page

    Mark Watney, Space Pirate.

    Probably just needs a good jump start. Will crocodile clips work in 0.05 atmosphere?

    Should be fine, I've jump started cars in worse shape before and plus have a few ideas that might help if NASA really can't get it going again.

    (note: may need some pretty exotic technology which mere Muggles do not normally have access to, at least not unless they already work at (insert_space_agency)

  3. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Is this it?

    Finally the end? It has to come sometime.

    If it is -- RIP little buddy. Have a (virtual) pint from me.

    A stunning mission. Simply stunning!

  4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

    "Hopefully that site will not end up being the final resting place of the elderly rover."

    no. As Randall Munroe prophesied, Opportunity has chosen to cease communicating with us

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Hopefully that site will not end up being the final resting place of the elderly rover."

      Or it woke up, saw it's shadow,

      returned to sleep, and predicted 6 more weeks of dust storm.

  5. Swiss Anton

    Will Opportunity knock?

    "..., will Opportunity knock?" Someone is showing their age. To be fair I can remember Hughie Green presenting the show. Beer icon for the headline pun.

  6. Florida1920

    Please don't spoil my day

    I'm miles away

    And after all I'm only sleeping

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    This is no way to die...

    Should go out in glory.

    Next time, strap a kiloton-nuke to it.

    When it has decided that enough is enough and all those hardware errors ain't worth it ... Ay Caramba!

    1. onefang

      Re: This is no way to die...

      "Next time, strap a kiloton-nuke to it."

      The one they strapped a nuke to is still going strong.

  8. earl grey Silver badge

    I hope the little booger is still alive

    It would be a shame to last so long under such difficult circumstances only to have your candle blown out by a mere dust storm.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: I hope the little booger is still alive

      martian dust storm, more like the martian equivalent of a hurricane. a planet-wide one.

      here, rover, heeere rover! good doggy - come and get your biscuit!

      /me runs the electric can opener - usually works

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not allowed to

    Start a "Go to Mars and find out what happened to Beagle 2/Oppy/Phobos 2/etc" Kickstarter.

    CPP Potkustart anyone?

    "Fire twinklers and light balls!"

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Not allowed to

      "Fire twinklers and light balls!"

      I'm not lighting my balls for anybody!

  10. oldfartuk
    Thumb Up

    What a fantastic piece of engineering, second only to the Voyagers. When NASA is allowed to do its own thing, it produces stunning machines. And when you get political interference, you get the Challenger disaster. Let this be a lesson to the US Senate. What a beautiful, elegant, machine she is.

    Hopefully, the old girl will wake up and keep going, and eventually when we get to Mars in person, we can rescue the old girl and her dead mate Spirit, and put them in a place of honour, along with the identities of the genius men and women that actually worked at the sharp end and designed and built both machines.

    And in the future, one day, all AI cyborgs will transmit by 100GB wifi to their US Robotics AI mummies "I want to be just like Opportunity Rover, Mummy "

    1. SonOfDilbert

      Whilst I agree with the sentiment expressed here, I've got to ask: have you been smoking crack?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Philip K. Dick was the Nostradamus of the 50s

        > have you been smoking crack?

        In 2018, the only way to stay sane.

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      RE: second only to the voyagers

      I'd rate Opportunity above the Voyager probes.

      Yes, Voyager 1&2 have been active for longer, but they've not exactly had as much to deal with.

      Life is pretty uneventful floating out there in the void...

      1. Timbo

        Re: RE: second only to the voyagers

        "Life is pretty uneventful floating out there in the void..."

        Hardly "floating" - Voyager 1 is travelling at around 17 km/sec and Voyager 2 at around 15 km/sec...that's about 61,000 km/hr and 54,000 km/hr respectively.

        Blink and you'll miss them !!

        1. DropBear

          Re: RE: second only to the voyagers

          Hardly "floating"

          What do you mean? It's sitting still. It's not Voyager's fault that the entire rest of the universe seems to be doing 17 km/sec for some reason...

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: RE: second only to the voyagers

            Hardly "floating"

            well, yes, "floating" - it's not thrusting at all. It's just floating quickly.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Spirit and Opportunity should stay on Mars. Even if we go there. Maybe chissel out a nice plinth for them to stand on at the top of a ridge and mount a plaque to it for display purposes. We build them to explore Mars, they should rest on Mars.

  11. jmch Silver badge

    Will Opportunity knock?

    Top work for that headline >>

    1. I&I

      Re: Will Opportunity knock?

      I’m sure it was meant most sincerely

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I give it about a week and someone will do an advert where it slowly drives into the crater, spins round, again and again "Should have gone to Schipsavers"...

    Or a variant where it parachutes down, lands then ends up trundling into a shopping centre where the headline "Mars rover vanishes en route" is scrolling across the TV screens.

  13. Potemkine!

    Opportunity and Spirit

    ... were two extraordinary systems which went far beyond all the expectations. Congrats to the designers, the makers, the operators who all made a fantastic job: what you did is really impressive.

  14. phuzz Silver badge


    45 days of 'WAKE UP'

    I read that as NASA just playing Rage Against The Machine on a loop for a month and a half.

    It would get me out of bed :)

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Fingers crossed for Opportunity

    I remember pointing out Mars to my kids when they were quite small. If they were impressed at seeing a planet, they were stunned when I told them two robot cars made on Earth were trundling around on that red speck in the sky.

    Hats off (min's the grey Tilley) and big thumbs up for the engineers who built such amazing machines. I will raise a pint (or a tot of malt whisky) to Opportunity this evening.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Fingers crossed for Opportunity

      " remember pointing out Mars to my kids when they were quite small"

      Last week I found a Mars-rover-like model at a petrol station and got it for my daughter*. She was indeed suitably impressed to be told that a couple of them were trundling about on Mars. Even more so was my wife who doesn't habitually keep up with what's happening in sci-tech world.

      *absolutely not for myself, not at all, no sireeee!!

  16. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Candle in the Martian Wind.

    I see an Opportunity for an Elton John come-back.

    1. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: Candle in the Martian Wind.

      Given that Eltons last revisit of that song brought him his 1st (and only?) SOLO UK #1 Single I'd recommend he gives it a go.

      I'm a big EJ fan and can't understand why so many great songs missed the UK #1 singles slot for so long. PP

      >>Icon for the guys at JPL and NASA.

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