Curiosity Mission Updates
Sol 2080: Communication Back to NormalWritten by Roger Wiens, ChemCam PI on 06.12.2018
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Left Navigation Camera (Navcams) on Sol 2 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
On Earth we have multiple means of communication-cell phone, text messages, land line, e-mail, and good old snail mail. On Mars the rover basically has three-a UHF antenna that communicates with satellites orbiting Mars, a low-gain antenna (LGA) that does not need to be pointed but only handles a low data flow, and a high-gain antenna (HGA) that requires accurate knowledge of Earth's position to receive or send commands directly. The two antennae on the left side of the rover are shown in the image above, taken early in the mission. The LGA is the pointy object near the left, and the HGA is the paddle-shaped object near the center of the image. The UHF antenna (not shown) is a can-shaped object on the back right side of the rover. Over the weekend the HGA was left unavailable to receive commands due to an error during a test, so the team had to do the next best thing yestersol, skipping most of the normal plan in order to reset the HGA-a bit like someone on Earth having to resort to a text message on an intermittent cell connection when an hours-long conversation was desired. As of today, it looks like Curiosity is back on track with normal communications.
About this Blog
These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars Science Laboratory mission team members who love to share what Curiosity is doing with the public.
Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.