Send NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Support As It Battles Epic Dust Storm

The Opportunity rover on Mars is battling to survive during an epic dust storm, and while NASA waits for any signs of life from the robot, you can beam it your support with a digital postcard. A social media campaign is also under way support the embattled rover.

A violent dust storm has been tormenting the Red Planet since late May. What started as a localized phenomenon quickly grew into a massive storm, developing into a planet-wide event by the third week of June. 

As the storm intensified, dust filled the Martian atmosphere, growing so thick that Opportunity couldn't harvest enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. As a result, the rover fell silent on June 10, likely putting itself in a sort of hibernation mode. [Mars Dust Storm 2018: How It Grew So Large]

A self-portrait of the Mars rover Opportunity built from a combination of images taken by the craft's panoramic camera. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell)

Thankfully, toward the end of July, the massive Martian dust storm started to subside. However, even though skies above Mars have cleared up a bit, Opportunity may still have to wait a while for the chance to recharge and communicate again with its handlers.

In the meantime, you can show your support for Opportunity's recovery by sending a digital postcard. More than 2,000 postcards from supporters around the world have already traveled to the rover, encouraging it to "wake up" and survey the Red Planet again. 

You can customize your message for Opportunity here. Choose from among several beautiful Mars photos, write a brief message and send it up to Opportunity to show your support. 

Social media users have also shown support for the 15-year-old rover by sharing photos and words of encouragement using the hashtags #WakeUpOppy and #SaveOppy on Twitter. You can join the campaign by sharing your favorite memories from Opportunity's mission on Mars.

While there is still hope that Opportunity will power back up, there's no way of knowing what condition the rover will be in after such a long period of inactivity. As NASA engineers continue to try and communicate with the rover, only time will tell if Opportunity, which has been exploring Mars since January 2004, can wake up and resume its mission. 

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.