A Rover Sees Its Shadow
As luck would have it, it does foretell an oncoming winter. Opportunity is preparing to find a spot to safely weather the frigid winter months on Mars, a long six months of reduced sunlight (which means less power from her solar panels) and temperatures dropping well into the -100ºs C (almost -200ºs F).
The rover team will soon be looking for a slope on which to park Opportunity, preferably at a 10-15º angle so that her solar panels – already covered with Martian dust – can soak up as much sunlight as they can in order to keep her powered up enough to maintain heating and communication abilities.
In the meantime, they’ve been trying to get as much science investigation time in as they can before she goes on winter break.
This image, taken with Opportunity’s forward-facing hazcam, is one I find intriguing just for the sake that the rover’s shadow provides a silhouette of her instruments and camera “head”. She’s been a hard worker, rolling along all alone on a foreign planet for eight years and, for the most part, still going strong… a real testament to the engineers that designed and built her – and the hardworking team that keeps her roving!