Here Comes the Sun: Perseverance Readies for Solar Conjunction

Mars Perseverance Sol 963 – Left Navigation Camera: Perseverance’s view east of the early morning sun on Sol 963 (Nov. 4th, 2023) while surveying for clouds. Earth, about 235 million miles (378 million kilometers) away, will be obscured by the Sun for the next few weeks during a period called “solar conjunction.”

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Perseverance wrapped up science activities this week as the team focused on getting the rover in position for solar conjunction, a few week period roughly every two Earth years when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the Sun. To avoid potential interference of radio signals by the Sun’s ionized gas, engineers do not actively command Mars spacecraft during this period and rather send up a long list of commands prior that don’t require input from the team and keep the spacecraft busy. This year’s solar conjunction will last from Sols 967 to 987 (Nov. 8th-28th, 2023). This is Perseverance’s second solar conjunction of the mission, the last one occurring in October 2021 when we were exploring the crater floor at South Séítah. 

After a slow-going but successful traverse north through a difficult boulder-rich terrain, Perseverance arrived at Jurabi Point on Sol 958 (Oct. 31st, 2023). The team took advantage of the view to do some pre-drive imaging of nearby boulders and reconnaissance for our traverse ahead before dropping down into Gnaraloo Bay with a 301 meter drive eastward on Sol 959 (Nov. 1st, 2023). Gnaraloo Bay is a geologically intriguing location with three different units outcropping in close proximity, including a boulder-rich upper fan unit, the margin unit, and curvilinear strata potentially consistent with rocks previously investigated by Perseverance. On Earth, field geologists seek out such boundaries, or "geologic contacts," to constrain stratigraphic relationships and depositional histories of the different rocks and the team hopes to do the same at Gnaraloo Bay.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
Mars Perseverance Sol 959 – Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera: View looking east from beneath the rover of Perseverance’s workspace following a 301 m drive on Sol 959 (Nov. 1st, 2023). Airey Hill lies around 40 m ahead and will be where Perseverance is parked for the duration of solar conjunction. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

A 42 meter slightly uphill drive eastward on Sol 960 (Nov. 2nd, 2023) put Perseverance at Airey Hill, an exposure of the curvilinear-like rocks. Perseverance will be parked here for the duration of solar conjunction. Upon arrival at Airey Hill, the team has been focused on characterizing the surrounding rocks with remote sensing observations, including an enormous Mastcam-Z 360 degree stereo panorama acquired at the highest resolution (110 mm focal length). In addition to characterizing the rocks, Perseverance has also been busy monitoring the Martian atmosphere to look for clouds and dust devils, as well as acquiring environmental measurements with the MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) instrument.

While Perseverance’s co-workers back on Earth will be taking a well-deserved break from surface operations, the rover will be keeping busy over the next few weeks by collecting weather measurements, surveying for clouds and dust devils, monitoring changes in the nearby rocks and soils, collecting sounds with its microphones, and conducting stationary experiments with the RIMFAX (Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) instrument.

About This Blog

These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars 2020 mission team members who love to share what Perseverance is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these blogs are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

Subscribe via RSS RSS icon

Sign up to Mars Newsletter


  • Mariah Baker
    Planetary Scientist, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
    Washington, DC
  • Matthew Brand
    SuperCam/ChemCam Engineer, Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos Alamos National Laboratory
  • Sawyer Brooks
    Docking Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Adrian Brown
    Deputy Program Scientist, NASA HQ
    Washington, DC
  • Denise Buckner
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Fred Calef III
    Mapping Specialist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Stephanie Connell
    SuperCam, PhD Student, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Alyssa Deardorff
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Kenneth Farley
    Project Scientist, Caltech
    Pasadena, CA
  • Phylindia Gant
    Mars 2020 Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Brad Garczynski
    Student Collaborator, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Erin Gibbons
    Student Collaborator, McGill University
    Montreal, Canada
  • Michael Hecht
    Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Westford, MA
  • Louise Jandura
    Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Elisha Jhoti
    Ph.D. Student, University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Bavani Kathir
    Student Collaborator on Mastcam-Z, Western Washington University
  • Lydia Kivrak
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Athanasios Klidaras
    Ph.D. Student, Purdue University
  • Rachel Kronyak
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Steven Lee
    Perseverance Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • An Li
    Student Collaborator on PIXL, University of Washington
  • Justin Maki
    Imaging Scientist and Mastcam-Z Deputy Principal Investigator, NASA/JPL
  • Forrest Meyen
    MOXIE Science Team Member, Lunar Outpost
  • Sarah Milkovich
    Assistant Science Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Eleanor Moreland
    Ph.D. Student, Rice University
    Houston, Texas
  • Asier Munguira
    Ph.D. Student, University of the Basque Country
  • Matt Muszynski
    Vehicle Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Claire Newman
    Atmospheric Scientist, Aeolis Research
    Altadena, CA
  • Avi Okon
    Sampling Operations Deputy Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Pegah Pashai
    Vehicle Systems Engineer Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • David Pedersen
    Co-Investigator, PIXL Instrument, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Eleni Ravanis
    Student Collaborator, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Honolulu, HI
  • Thirupathi Srinivasan
    Robotic Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
  • Kathryn Stack
    Deputy Project Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vivian Sun
    Science Operations Systems Engineer, Staff Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Iona (Brockie) Tirona
    Sampling Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Jennifer Trosper
    Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vandi Verma
    Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Rick Welch
    Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Roger Wiens
    Principal Investigator, SuperCam / Co-Investigator, SHERLOC instrument, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN

Tools on the Perseverance Rover+

The Perseverance rover has tools to study the history of its landing site, seek signs of ancient life, collect rock and soil samples, and help prepare for human exploration of Mars. The rover carries:


Where is the Rover?

Image of a rover pin-point at Perseverance's location on Mars, Jezero Crater

View Map ›