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Curiosity Update #7: The System Was Down
Since NASA first reported Curiosity's successful landing on Mars at the beginning of August news about the rover has been appropriately non-stop. Curiosity is one of NASA’s landmark babies and every little thing it does is remarkable.
Each month we will update you with a quick round-up of Curiosity’s activities on the Red Planet.
The biggest news from Mars is that Curiosity was suffering from technological difficulties that forced NASA to suspend the literally ground-breaking work the rover was doing on the Red Planet. The rover was analyzing portions of a sample of rock powder collected from the inisde of a Martian rock with its internal laboratory instruments.
On February 28th NASA was forced to put the rover in “safe mode" a minimal-activity precautionary status and then switch from the rover’s A-side computer called “Songs for a Long Journey” to it’s B-side computer called “ Songs for a Martian day-off.”
The rover had been communicative but threw some sort of hissy fit and was only sending current status information The status information showed that the computer had not switched to its daily "sleep" mode as scheduled. Like a bored technology addicted Facebook user the rover was telling us it was staying up late to hang out with its bestie Opportunity.
Yesterday NASA and JPL reported that the rover had been switched from "safe mode" back to active status on Saturday. The cause of the A-side's memory symptoms as of right now simply called a “memory glitch” remains to be determined. The Curiosity team expects the rover to be fully operational sometime next week.
"We are making good progress in the recovery," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Richard Cook, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "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."
All of that happened about twenty Earth days after NASA celebrated a milestone thanks to Curiosity: the first time any robot has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars. For more details about the picture at left please visit this JPL link.
"The most advanced planetary robot ever designed now is a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars," said John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in a press release February 9th. "This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August, another proud day for America."
On February 7th Curiosity celebrated the anniversary of its 1/2 year (Earth time) or about 1/4 year in Mars time on the Red Planet.
Follow Curiosity on Twitter @MarsCuriosity for all the latest news from Mars.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.