back to article Mars to go offline for a month as vast nuclear furnace gets in the way

Spacecraft exploring and orbiting Mars will be left alone for the next month as the red planet slips behind our nearest star for a bit of a spring break. The Sun will block radio signals for a month or so, something familiar to old hands such as Mars Express, which has been happily orbiting Mars for almost a decade. It is, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. alain williams Silver badge

    We need a relay

    In earth orbit but 60 degrees before or behind us. That will let us keep in touch when the sun is in the way.

    1. NukEvil

      Re: We need a relay

      Or better yet, the Earth needs to pimp-slap the sun, call it a ho, and tell it to move out of the way.

      At least then the sun will have a reason to explode in the next few billion years.

      Nuclear fire, because that's pretty much what it is.

      1. FartingHippo

        Re: We need a relay

        Surely the easiest way is just to move the orbit of the Earth (or Mars, if you're lazy) so it's perpendicular to the current orbital plane. Blackouts will still occur, but much less often.

        While we're at it, we could re-spin the Earth putting the North Pole closer to Alaska, and thus moving blighty to warmer climes. It's been snowing all f*cking day. In f*cking April, for f*cking f*cks sake!

        1. Anonymous Custard

          Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be a sun-shattering kaboom!

          Now where did I put my Illudium Q -36 Explosive Space Modulator?

          But this time to blow up the Sun, as it spoils the view of Earth (and possibly Venus).

          <-- As close as this place gets to Marvin the Martian...

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be a sun-shattering kaboom!

            Since the dawn of time mankind has wanted to destroy the Sun!!

          2. davidp231

            Re: Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be a sun-shattering kaboom!

            Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 century!

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: We need a relay

          Or a hyperspace bypass !

          1. davidp231

            Re: We need a relay

            You do realise that we're directly in the firing line if a hyperspace bypass is approved - with "love and kisses" by Zaphod Beeblebrox?

        3. Steve the Cynic

          Re: We need a relay

          "It's been snowing all f*cking day. In f*cking April, for f*cking f*cks sake!"

          I remember a picture on the front page of a British newspaper in 1978 or so, of a snow-covered cricket ground somewhere in England the day before. The date on the newspaper? Some time in July. The day's play was, of course, cancelled.

          1. Bobthe2nd

            Re: We need a relay

            Dont get all the excitement myself. Snow is caused by a collision of warm and cold weather systems so you would therefore expect it to snow at the start of a winter period and at the end of one. Plus I believe its more likely to snow in March than December and since March was only last week whats the big deal.

            Guess it makes for cheap, gap filling news stories though, versus the expensive smuggling a reporter into North Korea investigative journalism type stuff. Anyway off topic.. :)

      2. asdf

        Re: We need a relay

        >Nuclear fire, because that's pretty much what it is.

        Yes total energy wise nothing we can do can touch it but but at the core of some of our tens of megaton nukes (when set off) the energy density is billions of times greater than any region in the Sun. Still what the sun lacks in energy density it makes up for in mass what with it having well over %99 of the mass in the solar system and all.

        1. Alan Firminger

          Re: We need a relay

          Good idea.

          If two repeaters traveled round the sun in the earth's orbit keeping station with us at plus and minus pi / 2 then the whole solar system would be forever in communication. No one would ever miss an installment.

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: We need a relay

          Hell yeah. Full-fat Lithium-Deuterium provides a higher density than the exceedingly rare fusion reactions in an even highly-compressed mix of simple hydrogen, juiced with some catalytic carbon and nitrogen.

    2. Beachrider

      Re: We need a relay

      How about something in Solar Polar orbit. Isn't something doing that today?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: We need a relay

        No, we use a vacuum cleaner with a long extension cord.

    3. MrXavia
      Thumb Up

      Re: We need a relay

      Exactly what I was thinking!

      as we explore the solar system we need a network of relay satellites and of high speed transfer preferably!

      1. Fibbles

        Re: We need a relay

        "and of high speed transfer preferably!"

        <scotty>Ye cannae change the laws of physics!</scotty>

        Speed of light in a vacuum and all that...

        1. Trustme

          Speed of light in a vacuum and all that...

          Judging by how much effort I have to put into the cleaning, the speed of light is definitely not present in my vacuum.

    4. Richard Boyce

      Re: We need a relay

      That's been thought of, of course. They'd have to be big to pick up the very weak signals and they would cost a lot of money to build and to regularly replace. I don't think that will be afforded until there are humans on Mars.

      There have been tests of delay-tolerant networking protocols on the ISS. Further info at

    5. Peter Stone

      Re: We need a relay

      I think you'll find it was called Venus Equalateral ( proposed in the early 1940s.

    6. JeffyPooh

      Re: We need a relay

      Absolutely perfect idea.

      Wiki: "The Sun–Earth [Lagrangian points] L4 and L5 points lie 60° ahead of and 60° behind the Earth as it orbits the Sun."


  2. MrT

    One month later...

    "Curiosity control: Rover reports full system functionality is restored"

    "Command to move error: motors functional and responding: telemetry indicates no-go"


    <self-portrait later shows rover on bricks with all wheels missing: chassis tagged with "Ulla, suckers..." and "Watch the skies...">

    1. jai

      Re: One month later...

      +1 for "Ulla suckers!" lol

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Security issues

    Have they allowed for a man-in-the-middle attack by some Solarian version of Alice or Bob ? We might never get control of Curiosty back.

  4. garalus

    where is it?

    "when the big shiny ball of fiery goodness has moved out of the way"

    I wish that big shiny ball of fiery goodness would show itself here; I'm sick of the snow!

    1. asdf

      Re: where is it?

      Hahaha. 30 C and not a cloud in the sky here. Of course you won't hear me bragging here in a few months when it gets 45+ C.

      1. Trustme

        Re: where is it?

        Downvote. Jealousy and no other reason. I have to have the central heating on AND 3 layers of jackets to get to those temps.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    So we regain contact with Curiousity in one month

    And it's on the other side of Mars, has another 20,000 miles on the odometer and new spinners and a paint job!!

    The work of MTV (Mars Television) Pimp My Ride?

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Ok, but why the picture of Solar Orbiter? You can't talk to that anyway, we haven't finished building it yet.

  7. Herby

    Simple solution...

    Just communicate with mars at night. Isn't that the proper way to do it?

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: Simple solution...

      Since, as some studies have it, the universe supposedly curves back on itself in higher-dimensional space your idea most likely has some merit. However, there is the small matter of the several dozen billion years required for the signal to wrap around, and Mars will be back in contact in a month anyway!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuclear power

    Gets in the way all the time. Must ban it. It is no good.

    What, you say that it is solar power? That's OK. Never mind.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like