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Hello, I am in 7th grade and was in Science class while thinking, Man to Mars communication. My question would be, while Man is on Mars will they be able to communicate back to family and friends? I know they will be able to back to the Space Station but I was curious about the family and friends part. If so, will this be freely chosen times to talk or schedule time? Thanks,
Answer 1:

Communications to and from mars are very difficult and require the use of the International Deep Space Network (abbreviated DSN). This network is made of three of very large dish shaped antennas all around the world so we don't loose communication with spacecraft while the earth rotates. These three sites are located near Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain' and near Canberra, Australia.

Mars is also rotating and does not have this network of antennas. This means that communications coming from mars can only be sent when the side of mars you are standing on is facing the earth.

So yes, communication to family and friends would be possible as long as mars is in the right orientation to allow a signal from mars to reach the earth. The conversations would also be different because it takes signals 12.5 minutes to travel the distance from earth to mars. So they wouldn't be so much a conversation, but would be more like leaving messages for each other.


Answer 2:

Mars is between eight and twenty-four light minutes away from Earth, depending on where the two planets are in its orbit. As a result, if you were to send a message to somebody on Mars, it would take between eight and twenty-four minutes to get there - and between eight and twenty-four minutes to get back. This would make having a phone conversation difficult, although you could still communicate in a way similar to email.

There is no reason why the space station in orbit around the Earth would be easier to reach from Mars than somebody on the Earth's surface. You can't send your message through the Earth, but we have satellites that could relay your message to anybody anywhere on or off the surface of the planet. The only communication difficulty is just that Mars is so far away that it takes a noticeable amount of time for light to get there and back.



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