On March 1, we reported that NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover had experienced its first big problem, an issue with a corrupted on-board computer that prevented the robot from going into sleep mode. Fortunately, the machine has a secondary backup computer, but the malfunction prompted Curiosity to be put into Safe Mode as a precaution. NASA announced earlier today that it has been transitioned back into its active status.
The process happened over the period of about a week, which the space agency had initially stated would be the estimated transition period during which operations were switched to the secondary computer. The cause of the corruption is still being determined, but word has it that space radiation could be to blame.
The corruption issue was limited to the computer’s memory, and so NASA is in the process of getting it back up and running to use as the backup computer for the secondary side, which is now in use. The secondary computer is known as the “B-side,” while the first computer is known as the “A-side.” This is the worst problem the rover has encountered over the last seven months.
Said NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Richard Cook, “We are making good progress in the recovery. One path of progress is evaluating the A-side with intent to recover it as a backup. Also, we need to go through a series of steps with the B-side, such as informing the computer about the state of the rover — the position of the arm, the position of the mast, that kind of information.”