Mars Orbiter Resumes Normal Science Operations

Mar 04, 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: Why don't we search for different life?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mars Orbiter Puts Itself into Precautionary Mode

Feb 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

Image: Training for Sentinel-2A launch

8 hours ago

On 25 February, the Sentinel-2A Mission Control Team at ESOC, ESA's mission operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany, commenced simulation training for the critical launch and early orbit phase.

Why don't we search for different life?

Mar 03, 2015

If we really want to find life on other worlds, why do we keep looking for life based on carbon and water? Why don't we look for the stuff that's really different?

OSIRIS catches glimpse of Rosetta's shadow

Mar 03, 2015

Several days after Rosetta's close flyby of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 14 February 2015, images taken on this day by OSIRIS, the scientific imaging system on board, have now been downlinked to Earth. ...

User comments : 0

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.