Breaking news! A one-way phone call was recently reported on Mars

01/12/2021
Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA

Breaking news! A one-way phone call was recently reported on Mars! A call from Mars, dated November 7, 2021, is only now revealed by ESA (European Space Agency). On November 7, 2021, at 13:07 CET, one of the rovers, more precisely the Chinese rover Zhurong, commanded by the Tianwen-1 orbiter, in the Utopia Planitia region, Mars, directed one of the radios towards the Martian sky. For the first time, Zhurong sends a signal into space through his radio, but without any mission, it was not even known if it could be received by anyone. 

Mars Express, the ESA satellite orbiting Mars, could pass over the rover at any time. First of all, the Chinese rover transmitted the signal on the frequency it has with Mars Express, but not knowing if it is there and can receive the message. Coincidentally, even then, the Mars Express was above the head of the Chinese rover. 

ESA explained that his spacecraft (Express Mars) communicates with Mars rovers, including the Chinese one, and receives signals from him. It receives signals, because all the information that the rovers gather from Mars, to be transmitted on Earth, must be transmitted through a spaceship. Thus, the data and photos, but also the videos collected by a rover are transmitted to a spacecraft from its orbit on Mars and then transmitted to Earth, to one of the space agencies. 

"Normally, an orbiter like ESA's Mars Express first sends a hailing signal to a rover as a 'hello,'" says James Godfrey, Mars Express spacecraft operations manager. "Then the rover sends back a response to establish stable communications and to start exchanging information in both directions. But this is based on the fact that the radio system of the rover is compatible with that of the orbiter. " he also argued. 

The idea is that here, the spacecraft did not give any signal, the exact frequency on which the information was transmitted was not known and yet, the Chinese rover sent at random, and luck was to hit the ship. ESA also claimed the following: "The Mars Express radio-relay has a mode that allows this one-way communication -" blind "communication in which the sender cannot be sure if his signal is received - but so far the technique has not been tested on the spacecraft. " Therefore, it can be called a one-way call at Mars.

ESA and CNSA probably knew from the beginning that at some point, something like this could have happened. Space agencies conducted various tests, through which Mars Express and Zhurong transmitted such "blind" signals, but probably no one expected such a result so quickly. On November 20, the tests were a success, ESA said. "Mars Express has successfully received the signals sent by the rover, and our colleagues in the Zhurong team have confirmed that all the data has reached a very good quality on Earth," says Gerhard Billig of ESA. "We look forward to conducting more tests in the future to continue to experiment and further improve this method of communication between space missions," he added. 

So, in the end, the signals sent by the Chinese rover successfully reached the ESA spacecraft and brought something until it processed them, so that on November 20, Mars Express received all the data in its entirety, sending them to Earth. All data is now at ESA's ESOC space operations center in Darmstadt, Germany. The data received by ESA was also transmitted to the Zhurong team at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, which confirmed the success of the test. 

We wish success to ESA and CNSA, as well as rovers, satellites and spacecraft on Mars to complete all missions successfully. 

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 01 December 2021, at 06:26 am Los Angeles time

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