Yesterday, we reported that NASA had discovered its Opportunity rover on Mars in a type of standby mode after lifting the communications moratorium it had in place. The standby mode was a variety called automode, and had left the rover in a state of limbo where it keeps its power balanced and sits around waiting for orders. As of today, the issue has been rectified.
The communications moratorium was in place due to a planetary alignment that could see communications sent to the rovers corrupted, resulting in actions that caused serious damage. As such, communications were stopped for a few weeks, leaving the ground team to discover the problem with Opportunity on April 27, about five days after it had switched itself into automode.
After making the discovery, NASA put together a series of commands on April 29 to switch the rover back into normal operations mode. The automode was triggered, the agency believed, when the rover’s cameras were checking out the sun and it rebooted its flight software, the combination of which sent it into the altered functioning mode.
Said NASA about the matter: “The Opportunity rover is back under ground control, executing a sequence of commands sent by the rover team. Opportunity is no longer in standby automode and has resumed normal operations.” Such is the simple life of a robot who has spent many years rolling around the Red Planet. Communication with the Curiosity rover will happen soon.