40% More Solar Energy For Opportunity

shadow_opportunity

Good news for Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, a windy day on the Martian surface has cleared a layer of dust off its solar panels.

Opportunity is currently trundling across the undulating dunes of Meridiani Planum on its way to Endeavour crater, a destination it wont reach for another two years. It needs all the energy it can muster. So, like the fortuitous gust of wind that gave Spirit a 3% boost in energy in February, Opportunity has received what may appear to be a small hurricane in comparison. This gust of wind shifted so much dust caked on the rover’s solar panels, the robot has had an energy increase of 40%.

As of Sol 1850 (April 7, 2009), Opportunity’s solar array energy production has increased to 515 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) remains elevated at around 0.95. The dust factor has improved to 0.642, meaning that 64.2 percent of sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust on the array. The rover is in good health with a rested actuator and extra energy.NASA Opportunity updates

Since Opportunity arrived on Mars five years ago until April 7th, the tenacious rover has travelled 15,114 meters (9.39 miles). For a mission that was only slated to last three months, that’s not a bad distance its clocked up.

Source: NASA

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10 responses to “40% More Solar Energy For Opportunity

  1. Great news Ian – thanks! Just wish Spirit could get a proper clean up too, but they’ll both keep roving no matter what – they’re survivors those two! :-D

  2. Pingback: RT @astroengine: 40% More Solar Energy For Opportunity www.astroengine.com - Twitoaster

  3. I know we have great opportunities for moon-based solar energy programs …..OH wait, never mind. Obama crushed NASA's plans for that.

  4. This is the better opportunity that we have at this time. There is
    lot of opportunity that we can use through the moon base solar panel where the gusts
    of the wind are revolving into lots of dust on the rover of the solar panel.
    Through this opportunity the solar array products are been mounting high.

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