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Rovers have to communicate with their operators across great distances. Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio waves are transmitted from Earth into space. Radio Waves are used to send commands to the Rover, while its own radio transmitter sends data and images back to Earth. The radio is located inside the Rover's Warm Electronics Box (WEB) where it is protected from extreme environmental conditions



Sojourner had only a single UHF antenna for all control and data communications. The Mars Exploration Rovers carry three antennas, each designed for a specific purpose and function. They are:

High-Gain Antenna
A High-Gain Antenna is pointed toward Earth to communicate with the giant radio antennas of the Deep Space Network.

UHF Relay Antenna
A UHF Relay Antenna is designed to transmit signals between the rover and an orbiting spacecraft, including Mars Global Surveyor and 2001 Mars Odyssey. The orbiting spacecraft can then be used as communications satellites to relay information between the Mars Exploration Rover and Earth.

Small UHF Antenna
This was the type of antenna Sojourner used on Mars, and is the fall back communication device for the Mars Exploration Rovers. A small UHF Antenna is used to directly transmit information about the rover's mechanical health and operating systems back to Earth.

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