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NASA’s Mars Rover, Curiosity, Resumes Normal Operation

March 25, 2013

By Cynthia Herbert :: 7:11 PM

Mars rover switches back to main computer.NASA’s rover on the red planet, Curiosity, has resumed normal daily operations after a computer error switched the craft into a safe mode back at the end of February.

Engineers at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) put Curiosity under the control of a second, backup computer due to a memory glitch. Since bringing the rover back online, it has been monitoring the Martian weather, and conducted laboratory analysis on powder obtained from drilling into a rock on March 23rd.

“We are back to full science operations,” said Curiosity’s Deputy Project Manager at JPL, Jim Erickson.

Like most NASA spacecraft, Curiosity is outfitted with two computers, engineered to be redundant to each other. Each of the computers, known as A-side and B-side, also has other redundant subsystems linked to only that computer. Curiosity is now operating on the B-side system, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. The A-side was recently used starting a few weeks before landing and continuing until Feb. 28th, when JPL switched over to the B-side in response to a memory glitch on the A-side. The A-side now is available to serve as a backup if needed.