Mars rover ready to resume science duties

March 20, 2013 at 5:46 PM
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PASADENA, Calif., March 20 (UPI) -- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., says the Mars Curiosity rover is back to active status after computer glitches put it in "safe mode."

The rover is ready to resume its scientific investigations following two days in the precautionary standby status, JPL scientists said.

"We expect to get back to sample-analysis science by the end of the week," Curiosity Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper said.

Curiosity has two main computers, dubbed A-side and B-side, as a redundancy measure. The rover was switched from the A-side to the B-side by engineers Feb. 28 after the A side experienced a memory glitch.

A software issue on the B-side temporarily put the rover back into safe mode Mar. 16, but engineers said they quickly diagnosed the issue and know how to prevent it from happening again.

Although the rover is ready to resume science operations, JPL scientists said preparations are under way for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity during most of April, when Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective.

The moratorium is a precaution against the possibility of interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover, they said.

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