The Ka-Band package aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can serve as another possible pipeline to "talk" to the Mars Science Laboratory (read more about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Engineering Instruments). The Mars Science Laboratory, while in its cruise stage configuration, communicated through low and medium-gain antennas. Because the rover's and orbiters' antennas are close-range, they act a little like walkie-talkies compared to the long range of the low-gain and high-gain antennas. The respective spacecraft mainly "talk" via their UHF antennas.
This is how the Orbiter works: (1) Place the Orbiter reader at the Start, Finish or Way Point, (2) Know who you have the bibs to, (3) As the Participants pass the reader will “beep”. The radio waves to and from the rover are sent through the orbiters using UHF antennas, which are close-range antennas that are like walkie-talkies compared to the long range of low-gain and high-gain antennas. Solar Orbiter will be used to study the flow of the solar wind, the stream of electrically charged particles coming from the Sun and its magnetic property. The rover can only transmit direct-to-Earth for a few hours a day due to power limitations or conflicts with other planned activities, even though Earth may be in view much longer. Delta DOR is similar to ranging, but it also takes in a third signal from a naturally occurring radio source in space, such as a quasar, and this additional source helps scientists and engineers gain a more accurate location of the spacecraft. The other two orbiters recorded Mars Science Laboratory data from the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, holding it onboard, and sending it to Earth hours later. MSPA allows only one spacecraft at a time to have the uplink, and Curiosity commands early in each sol (martian day) for roughly 30 minutes to provide the instructions for that sol's activities. The DSN antennas are extremely busy trying to track all of these space missions at once. Engineers cannot physically see the spacecraft with the naked eye or a telescope, and they rely on radio "tracking" to know where the spacecraft are at any given time. Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter even captured images of the spacecraft on its parachute during entry, descent and landing. The data rate to the Odyssey orbiter is a selectable 128,000 or 256,000 bits per second (4-8 times faster than a home modem).

The instruments contributing data to the release are the Energetic Particle Detector (EPD), the Radio and Plasma Waves (RPW) instrument, and the Magnetometer (MAG). Because the rover's and orbiters' antennas are close-range, they act a little like walkie-talkies compared to the long range of the low-gain and high-gain antennas. All spacecraft have a special antennae which can send and receive information by using radio signals. Sign up today to get weekly science coverage direct to your inbox. The benefit of having a steerable antenna is that the entire rover doesn't necessarily have to change positions to talk to Earth. light waves or radio signals) also experience this effect. The orbiters can see Earth for about 2/3 of each orbit, or about 16 hours a day. The instruments contributing to this data release come from the suite of in-situ instruments that measure the conditions surrounding the spacecraft. They can send much more data direct-to-Earth than the rover, not only because they can see Earth longer, but also because they have a lot of power and bigger antennas than the rover.
Most often, Curiosity sends radio waves through its ultra-high frequency (UHF) antenna (about 400 Megahertz) to communicate with Earththrough NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiters. “Even currents in electrical wires make magnetic fields far larger than what we need to measure. All three orbiters active at Mars — NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express — were at positions where they could receive transmissions from the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft during its entry, descent and landing. “We measure magnetic fields thousands of times smaller than those we are familiar with on Earth,” Tim Horbury of Imperial College London, principal investigator for the Magnetometer instrument (MAG), said in a statement. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter carries an Electra UHF payload with the capability of helping navigate the Mars Science Laboratory safely toward Mars. Quasars are a few billion light years away and a few billion years in the past. This website uses cookies to improve user experience. During cruise, the Deep Space Network antennas pick up signals from the spacecraft that tell navigators where the spacecraft are located. Using orbiters to relay messages is beneficial because they are closer to the rover than the Deep Space Network (DSN) antennas on Earth and they have Earth in their field of view for much longer time periods than the rover does on the ground. The medium-gain antenna was a directional antenna that had to be pointed toward the Earth for communications, but had more power to communicate when the spacecraft was farther away from the Earth. Space telescopes, space probes, landers, and robot rovers all need to communicate with people on Earth. The Deep Space Network (DSN) communicates with nearly all spacecraft flying throughout our solar system. The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) is an international network of antennas that provide the communication links between the scientists and engineers on Earth to the missions in space and on Mars. The high-gain antenna can send a "beam" of information in a specific direction, and it is steerable, so the antenna can move to point itself directly to any antenna on Earth. This is where the Orbiter name came from. A sophisticated scheduling system with a team of hundreds of negotiators around the world ensures that each mission's priorities are met. “Seeing these data come in is wonderful because Solar Orbiter is all about relating the experience of being out there in the wild solar system to the places on the Sun that drive all its “weather”. The MAG has two sensors, one near the end of the boom and one closer to the spacecraft. This antenna can send and receive information in every direction; that is, it is "omni-directional."

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