NASA’s Opportunity rover — a robot that has traversed Mars for over 5,000 days — is still radio silent weeks after a huge dust storm racked Mars in May.
Engineers are getting worried, but to quell their concern and motivate Opportunity to wake up, engineers have compiled a playlist of songs ranging from Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” to Foo Fighter’s “Everlong.”
“Morale has been a little shaky,” Michael Staab, an engineer for the program at Jet Propulsion Laboratory who helped create the rise-and-shine playlist told Space.com. “This is the first time she [Opportunity] has stopped talking to us and not resumed communication when we expected.”
The daily pump-up songs to coax Opportunity awake are a throwback to the first time the rover landed on Mars. Engineers would play a wake-up song every day for Opportunity but the tradition faded over the course of its 14-year exhibition.
NASA officials were hopeful that once the violent dust storm that engulfed Mars blew over, the rover would be able to catch some sunlight and use its solar panels to power back up. Although the storm has started to pass, and the sun is peaking through the dust, the rover still hasn’t shown any sign of life since June 10.
More: NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars silenced by intense dust storm. Scientists are ‘very concerned’
In late July, NASA reported no contact with Opportunity and no expectation to hear from the rover until atmospheric conditions significantly improved. They are, however, listening every day.
“For the near term, the project will continue to send a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake,” NASA said.
In the meantime, engineers have started a betting pool on when, or if, Opportunity will finally phone home, Staab told Space.com
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