The Space Weather scientist will constantly monitor Solar Weather, including solar flares and CMEs, and the Mars surface for rising radiation levels that might damage the communication network. Learn more about the Mission's environmental conditions.
In the event of a solar flare or CME, ionising radiation will reach Earth sometime before it reaches Mars, and it will reach the Mars satellites before it reaches the Rover on the surface.
Alert other members of Mission Control, including the Communications Engineer. Shut down the Communications network, and the Mars Rover as necessary to protect electronics from damage. Reactivate the network as the radiation levels normalise.
A fail-safe system will automatically shut down the satellites if radiation levels become dangerous, and they will remain inactive for a longer period of time.
The VSSEC Mars Rover has an instrument mounted on the end of the Robotic arm to take local radiation readings - the APXS (Alpha-Particle-X-Ray-Spectrometer). The Robotic Arm is operated by the Robotics Engineer.
Negotiate with the engineering team to deploy the APXS to take an initial background radiation reading, and again at regular intervals to identify any changes. Notify the Chief Scientist and other members of Mission Control if radiation levels rise.