Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena have put the Mars Curiosity Rover into a one month hibernation starting on 4 April. The reason is that the planetary alignment of Mars puts the sun and its atmosphere of highly charged particles more or less directly in the way of direct communications between Mars and Earth which makes commanding the spacecraft difficult. A basic signal transmitted from the rover effectively saying “I am still alive” can still be received but commanding the rover has been suspended until 1 May.
Tag Archives | Mars Curiosity Rover
Mars Curiosity Rover fell into a safe mode on 16 March as result of on board data file size anomaly. A file meant for deletion was connected to active command file and the safe-mode entry was triggered when the command file failed a size-check by the rover’s protective software. The system the rover’s computer system was rebooted and recovered on 19 March.
Following problems with its A-Side computer (symptoms of a corrupted memory location were being shown) on 28 February 2013 the Mars Curiosity Rover was switched to the redundant onboard computer on the B-side computer. This swap caused the rover to fall into a safe mode. Curiosity exited safe mode and resumed using its high-gain antenna on 2 March 2013.
The Mars Curiosity Rover has found further evidence that Mars once had significant water movements on the surface of the planet. NASA has released images comparing the smoothed pebbles in rocky outcrops imaged by the rover with those from former river beds on Earth to show that an alluvial fan formed by fast moving water (a river) flowing into the Gale crater where Curiosity is exploring once existed.
As it awaits its 6th August landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover (aka Mars Science Laboratory) which was launched on 26 November last year, NASA has been showing a video detailing the engineering challenges and technology of re-entry and landing. The landing technique uses a “skycrane” method to gently lower the rover onto the surface from a rocket powered landing stage. The idea of this is not to kick ujp too much dust onto the instruments. The video is titled “Seven minutes of Terror” to illustrate just how risky the whole procedure is for the mission. And how much its watching engineers and scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will be suffereing.<
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