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.”
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.