Earlier this month, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover experienced its first major malfunction, with one of its on-board computers experiencing a “memory glitch” and failing to go into sleep mode. A few days later, the space agency announced that the rover had been transitioned to its secondary computer and put back into active mode. Now, a tad over a week later, NASA has stated that it is making progress in its testing and assessment of the A-side computer’s memory.
According to NASA, its researchers will apply two software patches to the rover that concern both vehicle safing procedures and memory allocation for the on-board computer. Following these patches, which are tentatively set to go into effect this week, the team responsible for the rover will then look at the situation and determine whether full mission operations can be greenlighted.
NASA’s Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Jim Erickson said, “These tests have provided us with a great deal of information about the rover’s A-side memory. We have been able to store new data in many of the memory locations previously affected and believe more runs will demonstrate more memory is available.”
It has been an eventful month for Curiosity, which was put into sleep mode on March 6, shortly after the issues with the onboard computer, due to an incoming solar flare that could have potentially damaged the rover via radiation. Fortunately, such events often do not harm these devices, and it faired the situation without issue.