28 August- Mars’ Solar conjunction with Earth begins. In essence, Earth and Mars will be on the opposite side of the sun. That means Mars won’t be visible from the Earth for some time.
“We won’t be commanding the spacecraft out of concern that they could act on a corrupted command.” This is the cause of solar conjunction.NASA
- Solar conjunction is a phenomenon which occurs every two years (around 26 months). It is a point when a celestial body in our solar system is not observable from the Earth.
- NASA has ordered a “command moratorium” 26th august to 7th September.
- This means NASA won’t be working and receiving the data sent by the robots from the Red planet.
Why Solar Conjunction is terrible
- The sun’s corona is made up of hot and ionised gases. This is the reason behind NASA’s operations halt.
- Our star, Sun acts as a giant electromagnetic noise generator. This creates a signal much stronger than satellites radio signals.
- This interferes with the radio signals and makes communication with the spacecraft a problem during this time.
- Roy Gladden (NASA), “our engineers have been preparing our spacecraft for the conjunction for months. They will still be collecting science data at Mars, and some will attempt to send the data home.”
- Curiosity Rover will stop working and won’t be able to drive and take photos, and InSight lander won’t move its robotic arms. There will be no communications between Mars and Earth due to the solar conjunction.
- However, Mars Reconnaissance and Odyssey orbiters will still function and collect data from Curiosity.
- Only Odyssey will try to send the data back to Earth and the Maven orbiter will continue to operate but will not contact earth observatories.
- New research claims that Mars billions of years ago was ‘warm and wet’.
- That could have brought massive rainstorms and flooding and making Mars perfect to support life.