Mars Orbiter Resumes Normal Science Operations

March 4, 2009
This artist's concept of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter features the spacecraft's main bus facing down, toward the red planet.

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has fully recovered from an unexpected computer re-set last week and resumed its scientific investigation of Mars.

The mission's flight-team engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, sent commands Monday, March 2, to power up the spacecraft's science instruments. Observations by the instruments resumed Tuesday morning after confirmation of instrument health and proper temperatures.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had rebooted its computer Monday morning, Feb. 23, and put itself temporarily into a limited-activity "safe" mode that is an automated safety response. After analysis of the situation, including ground-based tests simulating the spacecraft events, engineers took the spacecraft out of safe mode on Saturday.

"We have proceeded cautiously, checking the health and performance of the spacecraft at each step as we brought it back to full, normal operations," said JPL's Dan Johnston, mission manager for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The team found that a voltage reading might have triggered the Feb. 23 reboot and that the event could have resulted from a cosmic-ray hit causing an erroneous voltage reading. Ground simulations have confirmed the expected spacecraft behavior due to the erroneous voltage reading. Since the Feb. 23 event, the spacecraft systems have continued to perform as expected.

Provided by NASA

Explore further: Mars orbiter enters safe mode after disturbance

Related Stories

Mars Orbiter Puts Itself into Precautionary Mode

February 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter unexpectedly rebooted its computer Monday morning, Feb. 23, and put itself into a limited-activity mode that is an automated safety response.

Recommended for you

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.