Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
For Moratorium on Sending Commands to Mars, Blame the Sun
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 17, 2017


All of NASA's active Mars missions have experience from at least one previous solar conjunction. This will be the eighth solar conjunction period for the Mars Odyssey orbiter, the seventh for the Opportunity rover, the sixth for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the third for the Curiosity rover and the second for the MAVEN orbiter.

This month, movements of the planets will put Mars almost directly behind the sun, from Earth's perspective, causing curtailed communications between Earth and Mars.

NASA will refrain from sending commands to America's three Mars orbiters and two Mars rovers during the period from July 22 to Aug. 1.

"Out of caution, we won't talk to our Mars assets during that period because we expect significant degradation in the communication link, and we don't want to take a chance that one of our spacecraft would act on a corrupted command," said Chad Edwards, manager of the Mars Relay Network Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Data will keep coming from Mars to Earth, although loss or corruption of some bits is anticipated and the data will be retransmitted later. "We will continue to receive telemetry, so we will have information every day about the status of the vehicles," Edwards said.

As seen from Earth, Mars periodically passes near the sun about every 26 months, an arrangement called "Mars solar conjunction." During most solar conjunctions, including this year's, Mars does not go directly behind the sun.

Viewers using proper eye protection to watch the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 will gain a visible lesson in why Mars doesn't need to be directly behind the sun for communications between Earth and Mars to be degraded. The sun's corona, which always extends far from the surface of the sun, becomes visible during total eclipses. It consists of hot, ionized gas, which can interfere with radio waves that pass through it.

To prevent the possibility of the ionized gas near the sun corrupting a command radioed to a spacecraft at Mars, NASA avoids transmitting for a period including several days before and after Mars gets closest to passing behind the sun.

Teams that operate Mars orbiters and rovers have been preparing for weeks in anticipation of the moratorium that will begin on July 22.

"The vehicles will stay active, carrying out commands sent in advance," said Mars Program Chief Engineer Hoppy Price, of JPL. "Orbiters will be making their science observations and transmitting data. The rovers won't be driving, but observations and measurements will continue."

The rover teams are determining the most useful sites for the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity to remain productive during the solar-conjunction period.

All of NASA's active Mars missions have experience from at least one previous solar conjunction. This will be the eighth solar conjunction period for the Mars Odyssey orbiter, the seventh for the Opportunity rover, the sixth for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the third for the Curiosity rover and the second for the MAVEN orbiter.

Edwards said, "All of these spacecraft are now veterans of conjunction. We know what to expect."

MARSDAILY
The Niagara Falls of Mars once flowed with lava
Washington (UPI) Jun 29, 2017
Water is often the focus of NASA's many Martian scientific missions. It's true, Mars was once a surprisingly watery world. But it also once featured large amounts of magmatic activity. The Niagara Falls of Mars, detailed in a new image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, once flowed with lava - imagine a massive waterfall running red with molten rock. NASA scientists ... read more

Related Links
Mars solar conjunction at NASA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

MARSDAILY
Living in Deep Space: Lockheed Martin to Build Full-Scale Prototype of NASA Cislunar Habitat

How to rescue a Moonwalker in need

Japanese Space Agency Proposes Plan to Send Astronauts to Moon

Japan reveals plans to put a man on moon by 2030

MARSDAILY
China develops sea launches to boost space commerce

Chinese satellite Zhongxing-9A enters preset orbit

Chinese Space Program: From Setback, to Manned Flights, to the Moon

Chinese Rocket Fizzles Out, Puts Other Launches on Hold

MARSDAILY
Ancient, massive asteroid impact could explain Martian geological mysteries

Pitted Materials in Craters Could Indicate Buried Ice on Asteroids

Bizarro comet challenging researchers

NASA'S First Asteroid Deflection Mission Enters Next Design Phase

MARSDAILY
NASA's New Horizons Team Strikes Gold in Argentina

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New Horizons Video Soars over Pluto's Majestic Mountains and Icy Plains

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

MARSDAILY
Titan's calm lakes offer space probes a smooth landing

Methanol Points to Evolving Story of Enceladus's Plumes

In a Cosmic Hit-and-Run, Icy Saturn Moon May Have Flipped

Cassini Finds Saturn Moon May Have Tipped Over

MARSDAILY
Airbus built Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite ready for launch

Nickel key to Earth's magnetic field, research shows

Great Plains to see more dust storms in second half of the 21st century

Quantum mechanics inside Earth's core

MARSDAILY
In Gulf of Mexico, NASA Evaluates How Crew Will Exit Orion

Space Tourist From Asian Country to Travel to ISS in 2019

NASA Awards Mission Systems Operations Contract

ULA to launch Dream Chaser for cargo runs to ISS for Sierra Nevada

MARSDAILY
Eyes Wide Open for MASCARA Exoplanet Hunter

Ancient worm burrows offer insights into early 'ecosystem engineers'

Molecular Outflow Launched Beyond Disk Around Young Star

A New Search for Extrasolar Planets from the Arecibo Observatory




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement