Curiosity Rover Resumes Science Operations

Posted: Oct 20 2018, 3:44pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 21 2018, 12:31am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Curiosity Rover Resumes Science Operations
Credit: NASA

NASA's Curiosity is ready for limited science operations while engineers continue to diagnose the technical issue.

NASA’s Curiosity rover is back in action. The robotic rover has resumed science operations on Mars' surface after recovery from a computer glitch that affected its B-side and prompted engineers to switch it to the other computer. However, Curiosity is not returned to its full capacity.

Curiosity rover was switched from the B-side to the A-side earlier this month in response to a memory glitch in its one computer. The technical issue prevented computer from storing science and engineering data since Sept. 15.

Like many spacecraft, Curiosity is equipped with a pair of redundant main computers so that it can continue operations if one machine fails. Curiosity is now operating on its A-side, which remained active from before rover’s touchdown on Mars, in 2012, until Feb. 2013.

A-side computer experienced issues five years ago on sol 200 of the mission. Since then, the rover stayed on its B-side, while the original side was available as a back-up. Once again, researchers have resumed operations on the A-side and even took the first images with its cameras that haven't been used since 2013.

“Thanks to our hard-working engineers, Curiosity is ready for limited science operations while the anomaly work continues. Curiosity has been at the (sadly) unsuccessful "Inverness" drill site since the anomaly. Curiosity is still exploring the gray Jura member on Vera Rubin Ridge.” NASA’s update said.

Next steps will include checking the rover's now-inactive computer. The side swap has given engineers an opportunity to do a detailed diagnosis that will help them fully understand the root cause of the issue.

“It's certainly possible to run the mission on the Side-A computer if we really need to. But our plan is to switch back to Side B as soon as we can fix the problem to utilize its larger memory size." Steven Lee of JPL, Curiosity's deputy project manager, said earlier in a statement.

Launched in 2011, Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012 and has been rolling along Martian surface ever since. The rover is designed to analyze chemical composition of Mars sediments and explore past and present environmental conditions on the planet.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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