The Earth team that operates the Mars rover Curiosity has switched its operations to a backup computer on board the vehicle in response to a memory problem on the computer that has been active so far. rover scientific investigations have been suspended.
The change took place on Thursday and left the vehicle in a state of minimal activity precaution
called “safe mode”. Engineers return all systems operating mode progressively in the coming days, as it overcomes the problem that affected operations. This failure relates to a flash memory in the computer linked to the now inactive.
“We changed the onboard computer to reach a standard state from which begin restoring routine operations,” said Richard Cook, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, project manager Mars Science Laboratory, which built and the vehicle operates.
Like many spacecraft, Curiosity carries a pair of redundant main computers to have a backup available if the other fails. Each of the computers, side A and side B, also has other related redundant subsystems. Curiosity is operating in its B-side, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. It worked in his face before the arrival at the Red Planet until Wednesday. “While we are resuming operations on the B side, we are also working to determine the best way to restore the A side as a backup feasible,” he said Magdy Bareh JPL engineer, team leader to address the problem .
A few days of break
The rover remained in communication as planned, but has not sent the records, but only current status information. These data revealed that the team had not changed the usual “sleep” mode when scheduled. The diagnostic work in simulated tests at JPL indicates that the situation involves damage to a computer memory location A used to treat memory files. The rover scientific research have been suspended.
The resumption of scientific research is expected within days. This week, laboratory instruments inside the rover have been analyzing the first sample of rock dust collected from inside a rock on Mars.