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NASA Planning To Restore Its Communication With Rover Opportunity

We will not give up on #Oppy even after the 45 days of plan we have put in place!

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"Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life," said Heather Graham at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay
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US space agency NASA is planning to start its effort to restore communication with the Mars rover Opportunity.

In a recent statement, NASA said it would begin a 45-day campaign of active efforts to restore communications with Opportunity once skies above the rover cleared to a sufficient level, Xinhua reported.

The rover has been out of contact since early June, when a major dust storm deprived the rover of solar power and the storm is fading.

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NASA’s plan attracted criticism. Wikimedia Commons

“The dust haze produced by the Martian global dust storm of 2018 is one of the most extensive on record, but all indications are it is finally coming to a close,” said Rich Zurek, project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Zurek said in the statement that there had been no signs of dust storms within 3,000 km of Opportunity “for some time.”

John Callas, Opportunity project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement that “assuming that we hear back from Opportunity, we will begin the process of discerning its status and bringing it back online.”

However, NASA’s plan attracted criticism because it limited the active part of the recovery to 45 days.

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NASA’s Opporutnity Rover. Flickr

Mike Seibert, a former flight director and rover driver for Opportunity said that Jet Propulsion Laboratory under NASA once attempted “active listening” of Spirit, the twin of Opportunity, for 10 months in 2010 and 2011 when that rover stopped transmitting before giving up.

Also Read: ISRO’s First Manned Space Mission to Cost $1.4 Billion

Callas said that if Opportunity did not respond to communications attempts after that 45-day campaign, it likely meant the spacecraft had suffered a mission-ending malfunction.

“We will keep trying to get our Martian friend back online. We will not give up on #Oppy even after the 45 days of plan we have put in place!” tweeted Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science. (IANS)

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Google Doodle Celebrates First Message of Humanity into Space

Astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake from Cornell University wrote the message with the help from American astronomer Carl Sagan, among others

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Google Doodle celebrates humanity's first message into space. (VOA)

In 1974, scientists sent humankind’s first, three-minute long interstellar radio message – the Arecibo Message – and 44 years later, Google on Friday celebrated the feat with a Doodle.

The Arecibo message is a 1974 interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star “cluster M13” 25,000 light years away, with a hope that extraterrestrial intelligence might receive and decipher it.

The message was sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

It had exactly 1,679 binary digits (210 bytes) which, if arranged in a specific way, can explain basic information about humanity and earth to extraterrestrial beings.

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Representational Image of ‘Doodle for Google’. Flickr

The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves.

Astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake from Cornell University wrote the message with the help from American astronomer Carl Sagan, among others.

Also Read- Social Circles Pose More Risks Online Than Strangers: Microsoft Study

“It was a strictly symbolic event, to show that we could do it,” Cornell University professor Donald Campbell was quoted as saying in an Independent report.

Since it will take nearly 25,000 years for the message to reach its destination — and an additional 25,000 years for a reply, if any, the Arecibo message is viewed as the first demonstration of human technological achievement. (IANS)