Curiosity, the happy little rover trundling the surface of Mars, put itself into safe mode earlier this month which begs the question, how did Nasa get it working again?
According to Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity entered a precautionary safe mode over the 4th of July weekend. While investigations into why the rover shut down are ongoing, the team back at Earth believe there was a software glitch.
“The most likely cause of entry into safe mode has been determined to be a software mismatch in one mode of how image data are transferred on board,” Nasa said in a statement.
To fix the problem, Curiosity is flat-out avoiding the mode which involves writing images to its main computer.
“Science activity planning for the rover is avoiding use of that mode, which involves writing images from some cameras’ memories into files on the rover’s main computer. Alternate means are available for handling and transmitting all image data,” explained Nasa.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) July 11, 2016
Curiosity has been on Mars searching for signs of microbial life since August 2012. In that time the rover and Nasa have discovered that Gale Crater once had lakes and streams. An investigation is underway to learn more about how the Red Dwarf evolved to have drier, colder conditions.
Earlier this month Nasa announced that the Mars Science Laboratory Project would be extended by two years, bringing the end date of Curiosity’s mission to some time in 2018.
Could we all just take a moment to appreciate that this problem was solved remotely, on another planet and everything seems fine? Sometimes humans truly Nasa’s Mars rover are capable of astounding things. Go, Nasa!