Monday, June 8, 2015

NASA Will Lose Contact With Mars for 14 Days This Month

"Call it a planned pause: about every 26 months, Mars passes behind the sun, cutting off communication with Earth. This "solar conjunction" is an issue for NASA, which runs five active Mars-related missions. Discovery News’ Ian O’Neill describes how the agency is prepping for the next blackout, which will take place from June 7 to 21. 
During the blackout, the agency will avoid sending commands to its two rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, and its three orbiters, Reconnaissance, Odyssey and MAVEN. 
“It’s really helpful to have been through this before,” Nagin Cox, a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement about the blackout. He notes that though it will be the first conjunction for the MAVEN spacecraft, all of the other missions have been through this before — seven times for Odyssey, six for Opportunity and five for Opportunity..."Mars
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