The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas: Mars Perseverance Rover’s First Solar Conjunction

Using its WATSON camera, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie over a rock nicknamed “Rochette,” on Sept.10, 2021, the 198th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Two holes can be seen where the rover used its robotic arm to drill rock core samples. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

As the Sun spews hot, energized gas from its outer atmosphere (corona) far across space, and Mars and Earth align on opposite sides, this causes interference with our radio signal communications. This means reliable communication is precluded, and we are in a quiet-period for tactical day-to-day mission operations, called solar conjunction.