PARIS: During a two-week period, Nasa will not be sending commands to its robots on Mars. This is due to a well-known phenomenon, a Mars solar conjunction, which occurs approximately every two years.
During this period, the Earth and Mars are obscured from each other, positioned on opposite sides of the sun.
As a result, the gases expelled from the sun’s corona run the risk of corrupting radio signals between the two planets.
For this reason, Nasa prefers to avoid communicating with its spacecraft on Mars during this period.
For this short period, robots will essentially be operating on their own. Although they will not receive commands and will not be sending back communications, they will continue to record valuable information.
However, this information will only be sent back to Earth at a later date. This exceptional situation will last until Nov 25, 2023.
Nasa has a rather extensive fleet of robots currently on mission on Mars, starting with the two rovers – Curiosity (which landed in 2012) and Perseverance (2021), as well as the Ingenuity helicopter and the Mars Reconnaissance, Odyssey and MAVEN Orbiters.