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No contact from Mars Opportunity rover

This view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows part of "Marathon Valley," a destination on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen from an overlook north of the valley. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

The solar-powered rover has been shut down for more than a week while a massive dust storm covers the planet.

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 9:38 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 9:38 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A dust storm at Mars is now global, keeping NASA's Opportunity rover out of touch with Earth.

Flight controllers lost contact with the rover more than a week ago. At the time, the dust storm covered one-fourth of Mars. NASA said Wednesday the storm now encircles the red planet, with only tall volcano peaks and the poles exposed to the sun.

Without sunlight, the solar-powered Opportunity can only hunker down and wait for the sky to clear.

NASA's nuclear-powered rover Curiosity is unaffected and is studying the extreme weather conditions. Mars hasn't seen a storm like this since 2007.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, say they remain optimistic Opportunity can survive. The rover has been exploring Mars since 2004.

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