Home » Uncategorized » Solar Conjunction Puts NASA Mars Exploration on Pause
130322-mars1

Solar Conjunction Puts NASA Mars Exploration on Pause


Don’t worry. NASA is going to keep exploring Mars and we’re going to keep learning things about the red planet, but all of those operations will effectively be put on pause for a period of up to three weeks and we have the sun to blame. You see, for up to 21 days next month, the sun will be directly in the way between Earth and Mars.

This can severely hamper communications with the probes we have floating around on Mars. It’s not a huge deal for the data that they’re sending back to us if there are “pieces” of data broken off, since we can simply get those probes to re-transmit the data. However, this become a much bigger problem for commands being sent from Earth to NASA’s Mars spacecraft. If the probes receive only partial instructions, things can go pretty haywire. And that would be bad.

The phenomenon is called solar conjunction and it basically means that the Earth and Mars will be precisely on opposite sides of the sun. This happens about every 26 months. To further exacerbate the issue, the sun will also be at the peak of its active phase around the same time. So, NASA figured it was best to just take that time off. The probes can keep doing their thing with some pre-scheduled tasks, but they’re not going to be quite as active with the whole transmission thing for those three weeks.

Odyssey, Curiosity, and the rest of the NASA gear over on Mars will be sending back daily beeps to Earth to let us know that they’re still doing okay.

[Source]

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

Check Also

wii-oculus-rift-hoverboard

Try Oculus Rift And Wii To Roam Around On The Back To The Future Hoverboard

Check out how you can fly in virtual space by using an Oculus Rift and a Wii Balance Board.

131129-amz

Amazon Appstore for Android Holiday Deals, Including Free Apps

There are tons of deals from the Amazon Appstore that will be offered starting now and throughout the holiday shopping season. They say that they will have "hundreds of titles that are eitehr free... or available between 50-90% off" the regular price.

131129-google

Black Friday: Google Play Store Apps, Games and Content on Sale All Weekend

Case in point, if you head over to the Google Play Store right now, you'll find that Google is celebrating all Cyber Weekend with discounts on all sorts of content. This includes many popular apps and games

131129-gtab

Black Friday Deal: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-Inch for $100 Off

Did you manage to score any epic Black Friday deals this morning? Are you still ...

131128-diy

Arduino Co-Creator Releases Plans for $200 DIY Mobile Phone

Mellis was one of the people who came up with the now hugely popular Arduino platform and now he has come up with plans for people to build their own cell phone for about $200 in parts.

131128-apple

No Discounts for Apple Black Friday, Just Free Gift Cards

If you were hoping to save yourself some cash as you brave the Black Friday shopping crowds, you'll want to go somewhere other than the official Apple Stores.