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Mars Curiosity rover put on hold after voltage leak

The rover is facing a voltage change for the second time since it landed on the surface of Mars.

By Ananth Baliga
Mars Curiosity rover put on hold after voltage leak
NASA officials detected a voltage change on the Mars Curiosity rover and it may indicate a bigger problem. (UPI/NASA) | License Photo

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Mars Curiosity rover has hit its second glitch this month, when a voltage change led NASA officials to halt operations.

Officials said they suspect Curiosity experienced a "soft short," a leak through something conductive that can result in a voltage change. This is the second time Curiosity has faced a "soft short," the last time being when the rover landed on Mars last August.

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"The vehicle is safe and stable, fully capable of operating in its present condition, but we are taking the precaution of investigating what may be a soft short," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Jim Erickson in a statement.

The voltage change was detected between the chassis and the power bus, which is responsible for transmitting power through the rover. Data showed that levels had dropped from 11 volts to just 4 volts.

The rover is designed to work at extreme of voltages, but this will reduce the rover's ability to tolerate future shorts and could indicate a bigger problem.

Curiosity went into safe mode earlier this month when an unanticipated software reboot, known as a warm reset, occurred during a communications pass with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Officials say the two events do not appear to be related.

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[Nature World News]

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