Monday , March 20 2023

Curiosity rover on the move again | Space


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NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover sent this snapshot on Tuesday (November 6, 2018). Image via NASA.

The 2019 lunar calendars are here! Order yours before they're gone. Makes a great gift.

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover is a recurring experimenting after a memory in September. The rover drove about 197 feet (60 meters) over the last weekend to a site called Lake Orcadie, pushing its total odometry to over 12 miles (20 kilometers). This was Curiosity's longest drive since experiencing a memory anomaly on September 15, 2018. The rover switched to a spare computer, called the Side-A computer, on October 3.

As the case with many spacecraft, Curiosity was designed with two redundant computers, so it could continue operations if one experiences a glitch. After reviewing many options, JPL engineers recommended that the rover switch from Side B to Side A.

A self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover taken on Sol 2082 (June 15, 2018). A Martian dust storm has reduced sunlight and visibility at the rover's location in Gale Crater. Image via NASA / JPL-Caltech.

Curiosity's engineering team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory continues to diagnose the anomaly on the side B computer. Curiosity used the first time after landing on Mars in August 2012. Five years ago, NASA said, leaving the rover uncommandable and running down its battery. At that time, the team successfully switched to Side B. Engineers have since diagnosed and quarantined the side of Side A's memory that was affected so that the computer is again available to support the mission. Steven Lee of JPL is Curiosity's deputy project manager. Lee said in a statement:

At this point, we're confident we'll get back to full operations, but it's too early to say how soon. We are operating on Side A starting today, but it could take us time to understand the root cause of the work and devise workarounds for the memory on Side B.

We spent the last week checking out Side A and preparing it for the swap. It's definitely possible to run the mission on the side-A computer if we really need. But our plan is to switch back to Side B as soon as we can fix the problem to utilize its larger memory size.

Bottom line: NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has made its longest drive since experiencing a memory anomaly on September 15, 2018.


Eleanor Imster

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