March 30, 2023

NASA’s Mars Fleet Lies Lower With Sun Between Planet and Red Planet

Mars plus Earth are on opposite sides of the sun right now

The missions will carry on collecting data about the Reddish colored Planet, though engineers back again on Earth will stop sending commands to them until mid-October.

NASA will stand down through commanding its Mars missions for the next few weeks whilst Earth and the Red Earth are on opposite sides from the Sun.

This period, called  Mars solar conjunction , happens every two years.

The Sun expels very hot, ionized gas from its corona, which extends far straight into space. During solar combination, when Earth and Roter planet (umgangssprachlich) can’t “ see” one another, this gas can interfere with radio signals if engineers try to communicate with spacecraft from Mars. That could corrupt commands and result in unexpected conduct from our deep space explorers.

To be safe, NASA engineers send  Mars spacecraft   a list of simple commands to undertake for a few weeks. This year, many missions will stop sending instructions between Oct. 2 plus Oct. 16. A few extend that commanding moratorium, because it’s called, a day or two within either direction, depending on the slanted distance between Mars as well as the Sun in Earth’s atmosphere.

“ Although our Mars missions won’t be as active these next few weeks, they’ll still let us know their state of wellness, ” said Roy Gladden, manager of the  Mars Relay Network   at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “ Each mission has been given some research to do until they hear from us again. ”

Here’s exactly how some of those Mars missions is going to be spending that time:

  • Perseverance will take weather measurements with its  MEDA   (short for Mars Environmental Characteristics Analyzer) sensors, look for dirt devils with its cameras (though it won’t move its mast, or “ head” ), run its  RIMFAX   (Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) radar, and capture  new sounds   with its microphones.
  • The Ingenuity Mars Heli-copter will remain stationary  on its location   575 feet (175 meters) away from Perseverance and communicate its status weekly to the rover.
  • The Curiosity rover will take weather measurements using its  REMS   (Rover Environment Monitoring Station) sensors, consider radiation measurements with its  RAD   (Radiation Assessment Detector) and  DAN   (Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons) sensors, and look for dust devils with its suite of cameras.
  • The stationary InSight lander will carry on using its  seismometer   to detect temblors like  the large marsquakes   it captured recently.
  • NASA’s three orbiters – Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and MAVEN – will all continue relaying a few data from the agency’s surface missions back to Earth, in addition to gathering their own science.

While a limited amount of science data may reach Earth during combination, the spacecraft will save the majority of it until after the aufschub. (That means there will be a temporary pause in the stream associated with raw images available from  Perseverance ,   Curiosity , and  InSight . )

Then, they’ll beam their particular remaining data to NASA’s  Deep Space Network , a system of huge Earth-based radio antennas managed by JPL. Engineers can spend about a week getting the information before normal spacecraft operations resume. If the groups monitoring these missions figure out any of the collected science information has been corrupted, they can usually have that data retransmitted.

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