Wed. Dec 1st, 2021


Next month on Mars, ESA and China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) will try something like never before in space: sending data from a planet-based rover to an orbiter from which it cannot receive a message. In particular, Chinese selfie Zhurang Rover, Which has happened Red planet from May, Will try to shoot data in ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter.

As ESA explains, Zhurong could not actually receive any communication from the express orbiter, due to a radio inconsistency. This means that it does not hear the rock signal sent from the orbiter, which usually waits before the rover starts sending data. Instead, next month Mars and ESA will try a new approach that was previously only tested on Earth. During the five tests, Zhurong will blindly send a signal into space, and Mars Express will hear that signal and any possible data.

“If [Mars Express] By detecting a magic signal, the radio will lock it and start recording any data. ” ESA’s Josh Tapley writes. “At the end of the communication window, the spacecraft will face Earth and relay these data across space in the case of other scientific Mars missions. When the data reaches the ESOC, they will be forwarded to the Jhurung team – processing and analysis.”

Sending data to a foreign orbiter is not uncommon for rovers – this is commonly seen as a smart backup method – but this test opens the door to communication between incompatible systems. This will be effective if there is a problem with China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter or if the United States and other countries need help.

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