ESA plans communications tests between Mars Express and Chinese rover

The ESA has introduced that it’s planning to conduct a collection of 5 communications assessments between the Mars Categorical orbiter and China’s Zhurong rover at the moment exploring the floor of Mars. Most rovers and landers despatched to Mars lack radios highly effective sufficient to ship knowledge instantly again to Earth. As an alternative, they depend on spacecraft orbiting the Pink Planet to seize the information utilizing short-range radios after which ahead the information utilizing extra energy for long-range tools again to Earth.

Because the Chinese language rover landed on Mars, it has been utilizing the Tianwen-1 orbiter to relay its knowledge again dwelling. Nonetheless, the ESA and Chinese language mission planners will discover alternative routes to ship the information again to Earth by using Mars orbiters of different area businesses. In November, the ESA Mars Categorical will conduct 5 assessments to aim to obtain knowledge from the Chinese language rover and relay it to the ESA ESOC Operations Middle.

The assessments will present a chance for the Mars Categorical operations group to check a backup methodology for speaking with Mars landers designed over a decade in the past however by no means examined in orbit. The ESA says that sometimes when an orbiter passes over a rover, it sends a “hail sign” to start communications, and the rover sends a response to verify that alternate can start. The difficulty that prompted these assessments is that there’s an incompatibility between the 2 radio programs. The Chinese language rover can not obtain frequencies utilized by Mars Categorical, making it unable to answer the hail sign.

The excellent news is that the radio used on the Zhurong rover can transmit a frequency that Mars Categorical can perceive. The radio system on the ESA orbiter can hearken to a particular sign being transmitted “blind” by the rover and look at that sign to see if it comprises knowledge. When Mars Categorical flies over the rover, it’ll swap on its radio and hear for that sign.

If the sign is detected, knowledge transmission will start, after which the spacecraft will relay the information to Earth. When acquired by the ESOC, the information will then be relayed to mission operators in China. The primary take a look at knowledge switch will occur at eight kilobits per second however step by step improve to 128 kilobits per second for the remaining assessments.

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