During the next two weeks, NASA’s Mars exploration robots will be operating without direct communication with Earth. This is due to a natural phenomenon called solar conjunction, which occurs when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun in their orbits. NASA has decided to pause sending commands to its instruments on Mars to avoid potential interference from the sun, which could be harmful.
The pause in communications began on Saturday and will continue until November 25. This break is planned to minimize any issues that may arise during this period. While the rovers will still be able to send basic health updates, they will be completely silent for two days when the sun blocks Mars entirely.
This means that NASA’s Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, the Ingenuity helicopter, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Odyssey and MAVEN orbiters will be left to operate autonomously. They will continue to gather data for their missions, but this information will not be sent back to Earth until the solar conjunction ends.