NASA's Amazing Playlist To Wake Up Opportunity Rover On Mars
If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, NASA may just have you covered.
NASA's Opportunity Rover has been radio silent for almost three months after a massive dust storm on Mars engulfed the planet, blotting out the sun above the solar-powered rover.
While mission staff can't do much in the way of rousing Opportunity from down here, they are attempting to inspire the robot to start communicating with them again by playing aptly chosen songs.
On August 4, engineers started by playing Wham!'s 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'. When George Michael failed to get the rover roving again, the team continued with a different song each day.
“We’ll just keep playing until she talks to us,” Michael Staab, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Space.com.
The website created a Spotify playlist of the songs put together by the NASA team, including tracks that have been played and ones planned for the future, allowing concerned Opportunity fans to listen along at home.
In an effort to channel those solar vibes, among the tunes is The Beatles' mellow classic Here Comes The Sun, while a healthy dose of space-themed tracks including Elton John's Rocket Man and David Bowie's Space Oddity and Life On Mars? are keeping the rover's mind on the job.
A Martian dust storm is no walk in the park, so motivational anthems including Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down and Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive are understandably on the list.
If for no other reason than proving the song transcends not only time but space as well, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is also in the wake up compilation.
Opportunity has not communicated with staff at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since June 10, when the dust storm the agency described as "one of the most intense ever observed" covered an area of more than 41 million square kilometres -- roughly the area of North America and Russia combined.
"It has effectively turned day into night for Opportunity, which is located near the centre of the storm," NASA said in a statement.
The storm eventually grew into a global weather event, NASA announced on June 20, encircling the entire red planet and increasing the concerns for Opportunity's ability to come back online after an extended period without sunlight.
Though the storm began to fade last month, scientists are unsure how long -- or if -- the rover's batteries will take to charge before it can phone home. Furthermore, key components of internal hardware may potentially freeze and break as a result of Opportunity's inability to operate its onboard heaters.
Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 to begin what was originally intended to be a 90 day mission.
More than 5,000 days later and a driving milestone of 42.1 kilometres, the rover has proved itself more than capable of surviving.