The Unexpected Force Keeping NASA’s Mars Rover Alive

12 years go, NASA landed the rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars, with the intent of exploring the Red Planet for 90 days before the vehicle’s solar panels became covered with dust. Fast forward to today, and Opportunity is still going strong, thanks to the unforeseen “dirt devils” present on Mars. These swirling gusts of wind periodically blow dust off the rover’s panels, which—combined with several software updates—has kept Opportunity alive and well as it continuously sends back valuable images and information.