NASA's Mars missions face a two-week BLACKOUT

NASA’s Mars missions face a two-week BLACKOUT: Perseverance, Ingenuity, Curiosity and InSight will all lose connection with Earth from October 2 as the Red Planet is obscured by the sun

  • NASA is planning to pause most of its robotic Mars missions for safety reasons
  • It is preparing for a two-week blackout caused by Red Planet’s position in space
  • Communication will be lost as Mars moves behind sun from Earth’s perspective
  • Perseverance, Curiosity, Ingenuity and Insight all affected from October 2 に 16
  • NASA is set to pause most of its robotic Mars missions for safety reasons ahead of a two-week blackout caused by the Red Planet’s position in space.

    The rovers Perseverance and Curiosity, as well as helicopter Ingenuity and the lander InSight, will all lose connection with Earth from October 2 when Mars moves behind the sun from our planet’s perspective.

    This position in its orbit, called solar conjunction, happens every two years and can disrupt interplanetary communications and lead to ‘unexpected behaviour from our deep space explorers’, NASA said in a statement.

    The rovers Perseverance (写真) and Curiosity, as well as helicopter Ingenuity and the lander InSight, will all lose connection with Earth between October 2 と10月 16

    The rovers Perseverance (写真) and Curiosity, as well as helicopter Ingenuity and the lander InSight, will all lose connection with Earth between October 2 と10月 16

    Solar conjunction, when Mars moves behind the sun from Earth's perspective (写真), happens every two years and can disrupt interplanetary communications

    Solar conjunction, when Mars moves behind the sun from Earth’s perspective (写真), happens every two years and can disrupt interplanetary communications

    WHICH NASA MARS MISSIONS WILL BE HIT BY THE BLACKOUT?

    NASA is planning to stop sending commands to most of its Mars missions during a communications blackout between October 2 そして 16.

    代わりに, the various robots will be given ‘homeworkto carry out on their own.

    The main missions affected include the Perseverance rover, which arrived on the Red Planet in February, and the Ingenuity helicopter it brought with it on its seven-month journey.

    The Insight lander will also have its activity largely paused, although it will continue using its seismometer to detect marsquakes.

    Curiosity, a rover that has been on Mars since 2012, is a veteran of these solar conjunctions, and has never reported any major issues.

    It will take weather and radiation measurements and look for dust devils while communications are down.

    NASA’s three orbiters – Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and MAVEN – will all continue relaying some data from the agency’s surface missions back to Earth, in addition to gathering their own science.

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    The sun expels hot, ionized gas from its hot outer atmosphere, or corona, and during solar conjunction — when Earth and Mars can’t ‘seeeach other — this gas can interfere with radio signals if engineers try to communicate with spacecraft on the Red Planet.

    Other Mars missions from Europe, China and India will also be affected, but those space agencies are yet to reveal their plans for the conjunction period.

    NASA has said it will stop sending commands and receiving raw images from most of its Mars missions between October 2 と10月 16, although the timing will vary by a day or two in some cases.

    代わりに, the various robots will be tasked with completing ‘homeworkon their own while the communications are down.

    Perseverance will take weather measurements, look for dust devils with its cameras, and capture new sounds with its microphones.

    Its Twitter account revealed yesterday that the rover had ‘parked in a sweet spot between dunes and a rock outcrop, ready for a 2-week solar conjunction, when the Sun blocks signals to and from Mars’.

    ‘During the lull, I’ll tackle jobs I can do on my own, like watching for dust devils and taking in the weather,’ the tweet added.

    Ingenuity will remain stationary at its location 575ft (175m) away from Perseverance and communicate its status weekly to the rover.

    It has been performing long flights in recent weeks, but this is currently on hold because of the normal seasonal thinning of the Martian atmosphere.

    NASA has been trying to work out how to fly safely in the new conditions, so it may be that Ingenuity won’t move again until the middle of next month at the earliest.

    The Perseverance Twitter account revealed yesterday that the rover had 'parked in a sweet spot between dunes and a rock outcrop, ready for a 2-week solar conjunction'

    The Perseverance Twitter account revealed yesterday that the rover had ‘parked in a sweet spot between dunes and a rock outcrop, ready for a 2-week solar conjunction

    The Curiosity rover, which has been working on Mars since 2012 and hasn’t faced any major issues during several previous solar conjunctions, will take weather and radiation measurements and look for dust devils.

    And the stationary InSight lander will continue using its seismometer to detect temblors like the large marsquakes it captured recently, the US space agency said.

    NASA’s three orbiters – Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and MAVEN – will all continue relaying some data from the agency’s surface missions back to Earth, in addition to gathering their own science.

    Ingenuity will remain stationary at its location 575ft (175m) away from Perseverance and communicate its status weekly to the rover. This image was taken during its tenth flight

    Ingenuity will remain stationary at its location 575ft (175m) away from Perseverance and communicate its status weekly to the rover. This image was taken during its tenth flight

    The stationary InSight lander (pictured in this artist's impression) will continue using its seismometer to detect marsquakes, the US space agency said

    The stationary InSight lander (pictured in this artist’s impression) will continue using its seismometer to detect marsquakes, the US space agency said

    This picture of Curiosity was taken by the rover back in April, nine years after it arrived on Mars

    This picture of Curiosity was taken by the rover back in April, nine years after it arrived on Mars








    ‘Though our Mars missions won’t be as active these next few weeks, they’ll still let us know their state of health,’ said Roy Gladden, manager of the Mars Relay Network at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

    ‘Each mission has been given some homework to do until they hear from us again.

    Once the solar conjunction is over scientists will spend about a week downloading the information gathered by the missions using NASA’s Deep Space Network, a system of massive Earth-based radio antennas.

    ‘If the teams monitoring these missions determine any of the collected science data has been corrupted, they can usually have that data retransmitted,’ NASA said.

    Normal spacecraft operations will resume once this data collection has been completed.

    Other Mars missions from Europe, China and India will also be affected, but those space agencies are yet to reveal their plans for the conjunction period

    Other Mars missions from Europe, China and India will also be affected, but those space agencies are yet to reveal their plans for the conjunction period








    Earlier this month Perseverance collected its first rock sample on Mars, marking an historic first step in a mission to return the sample to Earth later this decade.

    It then followed this up with a second sample a week later.

    The rover is tasked with seeking traces of fossilised microbial life from Marsancient past and to collect rock specimens for return to Earth through future missions to the Red Planet.

    It intends to collect dozens of samples to leave on the surface of Mars for a European Space Agency rover to collect before 2030.

    Perseverance touched down on MarsJezero Crater – believed to be the home of a lush lakebed and river delta billions of years ago – on February 18 after a nearly seven-month journey through space.

    It made the trip to Mars equipped with a detachable 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) robotic helicopter called Ingenuity.

    The copter has been performing a series of flights of increasing complexity on the Red Planet, starting with its maiden flight on April 19. It has now logged a total of 13.

    NASA MARS 2020: PERSEVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER ARE SEARCHING FOR LIFE ON THE RED PLANET

    NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth in the earliest years of the evolution of the solar system.

    Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover is exploring an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.

    It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 に 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

    Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

    Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

    ザ・ $2.5 十億 (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter insideand landed successfully on February 18, 2021.

    Perseverance landed inside the crater and will slowly collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.

    A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s in partnership with the European Space Agency.

    This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

    This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s ‘sky-crane’ システム

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