Solar Conjunction


    In Context 

    • The solar conjunction will halt communication with Mars missions for 2 weeks.
      • It is between October 2 and October. 14, 2021, when Mars is within 2 degrees of the Sun.

    What is Solar Conjunction? 

    • It is the period when Earth and Mars, in their eternal march around the Sun, are obscured from each other by the fiery orb of the Sun itself. 
    • The two planets are temporarily invisible to each other like dancers on either side of a huge bonfire.
    • Solar conjunction occurs every two years.
    • Before solar conjunction, the mission team sends up any necessary commands.


    • Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory respond in a variety of ways.
      • They turn off some instruments. They collect data from others and store it.
      • In some cases, they continue sending data to Earth, knowing that some data will be lost
      • No one attempts to send new instructions to Mars during solar conjunction. 
      • It’s impossible to predict what information might be lost due to interference from charged particles from the Sun, and that lost information could potentially endanger the spacecraft. 

    Source: CNN