NASA has stopped communicating with its devices on the surface or in orbit around the Red Planet since November 11th, but may resume contact on November 25th due to the arrangement of the two planets in relation to the sun.
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Therefore, communication will be impossible for two weeks because Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun, a phenomenon called “Mars-solar conjunction” that occurs about every two years, according to NASA.
The very hot ionized gas produced by the Sun could distort radio signals sent from the blue planet, potentially sending incorrect instructions to devices.
However, the Perseverance and Curiosity robots will continue to monitor weather and radiation changes on the Martian surface during this break.
Other devices such as the Ingenuity helicopter, the reconnaissance orbiter and the Odyssey orbiter will also continue their tasks and create images of the planet’s surface.
“Our teams spent months creating to-do lists to prepare all of our equipment,” says Roy Gladden, Mars Relay Network leader at the South Carolina Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We will continue to monitor her vital signs in the coming weeks.”
However, a two-day period is expected during which signals cannot be received because Earth and Mars are exactly opposite each other on either side of the sun.
From November 25th, the devices will be able to send to Earth all the data collected over the two weeks.