What happens is that the planet Mars is going to hide behind the Sun, so NASA will have to leave inactive the rovers Curiosity and the probes that are currently on the red planet. This mission will stop for 10 days.
The Curiosity rover, being the NASA vehicle that is exploring the surface of Mars, will therefore stop for ten days, it will be in the shade once Mars will be in the dark. Beginning next Saturday, July 22, and until August 1, neither of the two launch vehicles or the three spacecrafts that the US space agency has on Mars will communicate with NASA. All this because a solar conjunction will occur.
This is the second time that the Curiosity rover has stopped since the last break on August 6, 2012, to walk stone behind stone to look at the magnifying glass for the soil of the red planet. All this in the context of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which aims to study the Martian climate, know its living conditions and, perhaps, receive the first humans to reach Mars. It turns out that at the end of this week, this planet will be on the other side of the Sun. So, communications between our machines on Martian soil and the computers that coordinate them from Earth will be very difficult, there was no Sun between us and the planet Mars.
It’s like a “broken phone”, said Chad Edwards, manager of NASA’s Mars Relay Network Office. Although it is possible to “talk” with the probes or vehicles, communication will be constantly interrupted, as if there were interferences. These interferences are caused by the ionized gases that make up the solar corona, a kind of atmosphere of the Sun, and can cause the machines to misunderstand certain information. If this happened, the machines could execute a completely wrong order, thus putting the entire mission in question. That’s why NASA prefers to be silent for ten days.
This stop of the Curiosity will not be a delay, the robots that NASA put in the neighboring country are compulsive workers and were programmed to execute orders previously sent: the probes will continue to make scientific observations and to store data that will be sent to the Earth like this Let the sun out of our way; And the rovers, although with the engines stopped, will continue to make observations and measurements of the Martian soil. Therefore, some of this information will continue to be sent to Earth so that NASA is certain that the probe did not crash or that the rover did not end up cornered.
For now, the US space agency is concentrating on parking the rovers on the summit of Vera Rubin, a Martian region named after the pioneering astronomer in the study of rotational curves of spiral galaxies. Since the year 2013 Curiosity did not pause: that year was a whole month without giving news due to the solar conjunction of that year.