NASA commercial lunar payload service CLPS starts this year

NASA commercial lunar payload service CLPS starts this year

There was no response from space, only silence. "It is time to say goodbye", said project manager John Callas to BBC. "We're not totally closed if there are some proposals that come in that are different, that want to reflect a totally different architecture", he said.

Nasa has sent its last message to the Opportunity Mars rover - but it does not expect a reply.

But in spite of the loss, researchers celebrate Opportunities distance and endurance records.

And if that isn't quite enough to bring tears to your eyes, then wait until you hear the final message NASA sent to Opportunity.

During the second part of its life on Mars, Opportunity climbed to the edge of the crater Endeavour, taking spectacular panoramic images - and discovering veins of gypsum, additional proof that water once flowed among the Martian rocks. It also looked at sand dunes, which, coupled with knowledge of the air and wind, allowed scientists to better understand the nature of the sand that covers Mars.

NASA plans to build a small space station, dubbed Gateway, in the Moon's orbit by 2026.

"I think there is going to be less time between the uncrewed vehicle for Boeing and the crewed vehicle for Boeing, and longer time between SpaceX [capsule test flights] - which means, whoever gets to fly that first crew, we don't know right now", Bridenstine said.

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"I'm extremely happy to see others also reacting to "Oppy" with the same love and affection that I have", she said.

I could go on and on.

Two robot rovers, Opportunity, (aka "Oppy"), and Spirit, took a long trip to Mars, arriving in January 2004.

The rover was enveloped in a huge dust storm, which likely blocked out its solar panels, leaving a thick layer on top that couldn't be removed - or the dust may have affected the internal clock inside the rover. More than 800 recovery commands have been sent to reestablish communication, but they have not succeeded.

At 2 p.m. ET, on Wednesday February 13, NASA is hosting a briefing from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., to update us all on their attempts to contact Opportunity. Thomas Zurbuchen, the head of SMD, said NASA will issue the first task order under the CLPS contract next month.

Scientists consider this the end of an era, now that Opportunity and Spirit are both gone. NASA's Mars 2020 rover and the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover both will launch in July 2020, becoming the first rover missions created to seek signs of past microbial life on the Red Planet. Also, NASA's focus is now moving towards Curiosity, the nuclear-powered rover still wandering on Mars, and InSight mission which tries to prove that the Red Planet is still geologically active.

Three more landers - from the US, China and Europe - are due to launch next year.

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