Mars Curiosity rover experiences first major malfunction

Mar 1, 2013
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Mars Curiosity rover experiences first major malfunction

So far it's been smooth sailing for the Curiosity rover on Mars, and it's even taken the time to snap a few Instagram-worthy self portraits. However, NASA has announced that Curiosity suffered its first major malfunction. One of its onboard computers became corrupted and wasn't going into sleep mode when commanded to do so.

The Curiosity rover has two computers on board, one of which is a backup. NASA team members had to begin switching all operations over to the backup computer, which will delay operations by about a week, according to NASA. The space agency says that this is the most serious problem that the rover has experienced in its seven months on Mars.

Space radiation may be to blame for the corrupted computer, resulting in software glitches that interrupted the transmission of scientific data. Luckily, it seems that the computer's memory only became corrupted, so the data itself stored on drives was not corrupted. Of course, NASA isn't 100% sure that radiation was the culprit, but it was the cause of past minor problems.

Curiosity is equipped with two computers, known as A and B. The B-side computer was used during the flight from Earth to Mars, while the A-side computer has been the main machine controlling the rover since it landed back in August. NASA is currently working to get the rover back to 100% health, but no timeline was given.

[via National Geographic]


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