Texting may be one of the best ways to communicate with future astronauts on Mars and other planets.
This is one of the conclusions of a study published by Idaho State University geosciences Associate Professor Shannon Kobs Nawotniak in a special collection edition of the journal Astrobiology that was published March.
The article she was the main author on was titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Promoting Scientific Dialog throughout Execution of Future Science-Driven Extravehicular Activity.” In this article Nawotniak compared communicating through voice, video, still images, text messaging and other methods.
“Text-based communication is far preferable to audio transmission over latency [the time delay caused by the distance between the planets], allowing message recipients to prioritize their own tasks in the moment and maintain a written record of communication for review throughout the EVA (extravehicular activity or “spacewalk”) as desired,” she said in the article.
Texting has several other advantages and could be used in conjunction with other communication methods.