Rover Team Confident Curiosity Will Bounce Back from Glitch

It’s still misleading accurately what’s bum NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, though goal group members are assured they can get a six-wheeled drudge adult and using again.

Since final Saturday night (Sept. 15), Curiosity has had difficulty lucent home to Earth certain scholarship and engineering information stored in a memory. Curiosity has stood down from all scholarship operations while a goal group investigates a problem.

The emanate is associated to a rover’s inner record system. Something is preventing a corsair from accessing a locations where a influenced information are stored, pronounced Curiosity emissary plan manager Steve Lee, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. [Photos: Spectacular Mars Vistas by NASA’s Curiosity Rover]

“The group is methodically squeezing down intensity causes though hasn’t nonetheless dynamic if it’s hardware- or software-related,” Lee told Space.com around email. 

The good news is that Curiosity stays differently stable, healthy and responsive. For example, it’s still promulgation home real-time engineering information (which is really useful to a folks perplexing to diagnose a problem). So this is not a time-critical situation, like a mechanism problem that cropped adult about 200 Martian days (or “sols”) after Curiosity’s Aug 2012 touchdown on a Red Planet, Lee said.

“During a Sol 200 anomaly, a corsair was not responding to commands, nor was it sleeping to recharge a battery,” he said. 

That prior problem, he added, was traced to a multiple of dual issues: a prejudiced memory hardware disaster in Curiosity’s categorical computer, famous as a A-side, and a program bug.

The goal group finished adult swapping a corsair over to a matching backup (B-side) computer, that still runs Curiosity to this day. Engineers after bound a program bug, and a group has limited use of A-side memory to a volume that’s still available, Lee said.

So, while a stream problem is “quite technically complex,” a group is distant from discouraged. Curiosity has recovered from clearly some-more critical setbacks, after all, and engineers have several options during their ordering to understanding with a stream one.

“The group is assured that they’ll find a workaround to concede Curiosity to lapse to normal scholarship operations,” Lee said.

“If a problem is associated to memory hardware, it might be probable [to] work around any portions of a memory banks that are no longer operating,” he said. “If it’s a program bug, a repair can be devised to ascent Curiosity’s onboard moody software. And, ultimately, there is a backup mechanism available, despite with reduction accessible memory due to a Sol 200 anomaly.”

Artist’s judgment depicts a NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a nuclear-powered mobile drudge for questioning a Red Planet’s past or benefaction ability to means microbial life.

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Artist’s judgment depicts a NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a nuclear-powered mobile drudge for questioning a Red Planet’s past or benefaction ability to means microbial life.

During a six-plus years on Mars, Curiosity has found lots of justification that a Red Planet could have upheld microbial life in a ancient past. For example, a rover’s observations have helped scientists establish that Curiosity’s alighting site, a building of a 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater, hosted a long-lived lake-and-stream system billions of years ago.

Since Sep 2014, Curiosity has been exploring a foothills of Mount Sharp, that rises 3.4 miles (5.5 km) into a sky from Gale’s Center. The corsair is reading a stone layers as it goes, acid for clues about Mars’ long-ago transition from a comparatively comfortable and soppy universe to a cold, dry world it is today. 

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Article source: https://www.space.com/41905-curiosity-mars-rover-computer-glitch.html


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