Connection with Perseverance and Curiosity on Mars is lost: what’s the reason?

The Martian rovers and orbiting spacecraft will temporarily lose contact with the mission team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Over the next few weeks, communication with the robots will be suspended. This is due to the fact that the Earth and Mars will be exactly opposite each other, which the Sun between them. This celestial phenomenon is known as a solar conjunction. It occurs every two years.

A “selfie” of the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. Photo: NASA

Thus, the loss of communication will occur with the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers along with the Ingenuity helicopter, as well as three NASA orbiters: Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and MAVEN. In fact, they will be left “to their own devices” and NASA will be a bit on edge all this time until the space phenomenon is over.

Communication will be restored after November 25, when the two planets will come back into each other’s field of view, allowing the mission team to resume communication and normal operation of the spacecraft.

NASA explains that technically, the agency can send data to robots on Mars, but the signal will be extremely distorted, so there is a high risk of causing damage and losing communication with the devices forever. Therefore, the space agency is trying to leave its robots alone for a while until the two planets “see” each other again.

Despite the interruption in communication, all NASA vehicles will continue to work autonomously to collect data using onboard systems. Perseverance, for example, will monitor weather and radiation changes. All the collected data will be waiting for the team until the solar conjunction is complete, when they can transmit it to Earth.

NASA has released a short animation to show exactly what will happen. The agency explains that during the solar conjunction, it is possible to try to communicate with the robots, but charged particles from the Sun can distort signals and, in the worst case, damage the rovers.

As NASA notes in its animation, the two weeks of downtime allow the JPL team to catch up and take a vacation or do other work.

Earlier, we reported how an encrypted signal was received from Mars.

According to NASA