Just wanted to get some opinions on what might be some emerging/non-traditional ways to deal with 2 phases of a Mars mission where communication between Mars and Earth would be suspended for a brief period.

Little bit of background: A communications "blackout" occurs once every 2 years when the Line of Sight between Mars and Earth is blocked by the Sun.

A "whiteout" occurs when the Earth is between the sun and Mars and too much solar radiation may make it impossible to communicate with Earth.

Some options that have been thrown around are setting up L4 lagrange point relay satellites and putting a satellite in an orbit that would coincide with the blackout duration to enable LOS communication for that period exclusively...

I'm a university student looking into this stuff with no prior experience and I would appreciate any creative input on how to deal with this problem and how to justify a solution with supporting calculations (link budget analysis? orbit simulation?)

For context : I'm trying to design a communication system between Mars and Earth to support future inhabitation of Mars

  • $\begingroup$ The whiteout should occur at the closest approach of the two planets, this is when ships will be passing between them which might serve as relays. It depends on how wide the angle of the whiteout is, these ships may have whiteout issues at the same time. $\endgroup$ – Lex Feb 20 '18 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ You should do some reading on this first, and then when you have a more specific question requiring a factual answer rather than opinions, then ask something more focused. This is too broad and asking for answers which are primarily opinion based, both reasons for closing questions in Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 20 '18 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh I understand that, but I'm asking this after doing extensive research. I just want to hear some creative answers to see if that could help me with what I'm researching. $\endgroup$ – Space-Goat Feb 20 '18 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Space-Goat it doesn't mean it's not a good question, just that it may not fit the Stack Exchange format. You can consider taking the tour to get a better idea, as well as browsing the help page, including the section on What types of questions should I avoid asking? You'll see that asking questions in Stack Exchange that need answers that are primarily opinion-based are considered off-topic. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 20 '18 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ I'd recommend you first review the many questions and answers already in this site on communications between Earth and Mars, as well as other deep space locations, both current and future. Having digested that, try to ask something that can be answered factually. Also, try to describe what you have read so far first, so that an answer wouldn't be a duplicate of what you know already. Add a few links to your question to make it clearer what you've covered already. Welcome to Stack Exchange! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 20 '18 at 9:27