Curiosity rover exits 'safe mode'

Mar 20, 2013 by Guy Webster
This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

(Phys.org) —NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has returned to active status and is on track to resume science investigations, following two days in a precautionary standby status, "safe mode."

Next steps will include checking the rover's active computer, the B-side computer, by commanding a preliminary free-space move of the arm. The B-side computer was provided information last week about the position of the robotic arm, which was last moved by the redundant A-side computer.

The rover was switched from the A-side to the B-side by engineers on Feb. 28 in response to a memory glitch on the A-side. The A-side now is available as a back-up if needed.

"We expect to get back to sample-analysis science by the end of the week," said Curiosity Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Engineers quickly diagnosed the software issue that prompted the safe mode on March 16 and know how to prevent it from happening again.

Other upcoming activities include preparations for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity during most of April, when Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The moratorium is a precaution against interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover.

NASA's Laboratory project is using Curiosity and the rover's 10 to investigate environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for . JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Explore further: Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

More information: More information about Curiosity is online at www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , www.nasa.gov/msl and mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .

Related Stories

Curiosity rover out of safe mode, recovering

Mar 05, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has transitioned from precautionary "safe mode" to active status on the path of recovery from a memory glitch last week. Resumption of full operations is anticipated ...

Curiosity rover's recovery moving forward

Mar 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's Mars rover Curiosity continues to move forward with assessment and recovery from a memory glitch that affected the rover's A-side computer. Curiosity has two computers that are redundant ...

Computer swap on Curiosity rover

Mar 01, 2013

(Phys.org) —The ground team for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has switched the rover to a redundant onboard computer in response to a memory issue on the computer that had been active.

NASA's Curiosity rover to be back online next week

Mar 05, 2013

NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars since it landed to much fanfare last August, should be running at full capacity next week, after a memory glitch set the robot back.

Next Mars rover nears completion

Apr 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

Recommended for you

Radio silence as Russia tries to contact space cargo

4 minutes ago

Russia will try again in the coming hours to make contact with an unmanned cargo ship after communications were lost following the spacecraft's launch toward the International Space Station, NASA said Tuesday.

Strong evidence for coronal heating theory presented

2 hours ago

The Sun's surface is blisteringly hot at 6,000 kelvins or 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit—but its atmosphere is another 300 times hotter. This has led to an enduring mystery for those who study the Sun: What ...

The view from up there, down here

6 hours ago

When many people saw the first stunning photos of the fragile blue marble of Earth from space, it changed their outlook of humanity. It was a singular moment in time when people around the world were watching ...

The weird ways fire behaves in space (w/ Video)

7 hours ago

Light a match on earth and you can expect the flame to shoot up in a tapering bulb. But light that match in space and you might not even recognize the small, blue orb at the tip. That's because fire behaves ...

Russia loses comms with ISS cargo spacecraft (Update)

10 hours ago

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were left with a long wait Tuesday to get their latest food and fuel deliveries after an unmanned Russian supply ship lost communications following takeoff.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Maggnus
not rated yet Mar 20, 2013
Finally! Go go gadget rover!
MrVibrating
not rated yet Mar 20, 2013
Phew - good job it wasn't more hardware damage!
NickFun
1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2013
Could some country have been sending bogus commands to the rover to mess with us?
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2013
Could some country have been sending bogus commands to the rover to mess with us?


Not likely. You'd need to know where to aim your signal, have a transmitter of appropriate power, know the security passwords and know the communication protocol used. If you don't know what "language" to send the commands in, you'll have no hope of controlling it. Even the simplest command would have to have all kinds of formatting and preambles to be received correctly. If you don't have that, the computer would just ignore you, thinking that the transmission was disrupted during transmission. Look at the IP communication protocol; only some of the bits transmitted are actual data. The rest are formatting.

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.