The construction of a colony on Mars is a very costly and complex event, which humanity is about to venture into. Despite the incredible interest of the scientific world in the study of the “Red Planet”, scientists once again found new evidence that humanity should wait a while with the organization of a permanent settlement in this harsh place. So why shouldn't we fly there this time?
Can we get through to Mars?
About 13 billion phone calls are made every day in the world. We call our relatives, friends and acquaintances with and without him. Imagine that one of your close relatives decided to move to a Martian colony, and you decided to try to get through to him. But here's the problem: your relative forgot to warn you that the connection between the planets Earth and Mars can sometimes disappear for several weeks. The fact is that the blue and red planets are sometimes located in the so-called “moment of confrontation”, when both celestial bodies are on opposite sides of the Sun.
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At such moments, all communication originating from the Earth will simply be drowned out by radio interference emanating from the Sun. In other words, it just might not work out for you and your Martian relative to chat.
The most successful moment to call your Martian relative will be the moment during the approach of the planets, when the delay in the signal between you will be "only" 3 minutes. There is only one “but” – such a rapprochement of the planets occurs approximately once every 15-17 years. At the time when Mars will be at the farthest distance from Earth, the radio signal from one planet to another will have to travel more than 400 million kilometers. In order to overcome this gigantic distance, the radio signal will take about half an hour. Well, apparently, in order to talk with your Martian relative, you will need a walkie-talkie and a lot of patience. You just won’t be able to chat.
Despite the fact that our star is a relatively calm star by cosmic standards, it already now often prevents terrestrial radio signals from reaching the surface of the Red Planet. The fact is that our Sun has one unpleasant feature – it expels hot ionized gas from its corona, which extends far into space and not only muffles radio signals, but is also able to damage electronic equipment.
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The confrontation of Mars and Earth occurs every 2 years. In the scientific world, such a phenomenon is called a “moratorium of teams” when, in connection with the confrontation of the planets, complete silence sets in between the two worlds. For the future Martian colony, this will mean that for several weeks the colonists will be deprived of any connection with the outside world, and all problems that may arise during the silence of all available communication devices, settlers will have to solve without the help of earthlings.
In 2019, the team moratorium will begin on August 28. In order to protect the equipment, NASA will disconnect in advance the most important parts of all electronic devices that are currently located on the surface of the Red Planet. Despite the fact that all cameras will be inactive for several weeks, all spacecraft on Mars will continue to work – they will simply have a much simpler “to-do list” than usual.
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So, the Curiosity rover will stop moving, while the InSight lander will not move its robotic arm. Odyssey Orbiter and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellites will continue to collect data from Curiosity and InSight for their further return to Earth.
All this means that there will be a temporary pause in the stream of raw images available from Curiosity, InSight and other missions.
As soon as the confrontation of the planets is over, the spacecraft will transmit the collected data to a system of massive ground-based radio antennas. Engineers will spend about a week downloading information before the normal operation of the spacecraft resumes.