While 3 minutes is not exactly real time, it still seems like remotely-controlled experiments of a different nature can be performed that could not be when Mars is farther.

Is this correct, that the experiments change when the two planets are closer?


1 Answer 1


Partial answer:

Rover technology has evolved a lot since the 1960's and 70's!

enter image description here

From this answer:

The Lunokhods were controlled in real-time from Earth (long article well worth reading), exactly as you say. A camera relayed images to Earth (one image every 7-20 seconds) and a five-man team (driver, commander, navigator, radio antenna operator, and the flight engineer) would control the rover.

Lunokhod were driven life by beings on Earth, and Apollo LRV's were driven by beings on the Moon.

All of the robotic Mars and Lunar rovers and landers since then have had computers with memory, and received instruction sets that they executed afterwards.

That doesn't mean that there have never been situations where instructions have been sent and results received followed by more instructions in near-real time! But the idea has always been to avoid that.

(I think there's a possible new question there)

Certainly there will be engineers (as well as us as home) sitting on the edges of their seats watching things happen in the early hours and days after landing, but to minimize risk these activities are all either pre-programmed, or downloaded in bulk after landing.

I think there is an answer somewhere on the site about new software being downloaded to a Mars rover once it lands, but I can't find it yet.

Instead, here are some related posts:

All Mars and lunar rovers ranked by how far they've driven. Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable

All Mars and lunar rovers ranked by how far they've driven. Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable

Sources of data: NASA, JPL-Caltech, GSFC, Arizona State University, China National Space Administration

From How (the heck) did Lunokhod 2 drive, navigate and survive a ~40 kilometer drive over four months on the Moon using 1970's technology?

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. An aside: I think what these landings on planets and moons and flybys of the outer planets and their moons would have meant to men like Galileo who could never have imagined that within the span of less than half a dozen lifetimes the bodies he saw in a telescope would not only be visited by machines but by humans in person. Or maybe Galileo did imagine it. $\endgroup$
    – releseabe
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ @releseabe interesting perspective! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 3:33

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