Mars Curiosity recovering after computer glitch, says Nasa

Summary:The Mars Curiosity Rover is recovering from an onboard computer glitch but should be back to normal next week, according to Nasa.

Nasa's Curiosity rover is on the path to recovery after it was put into 'safe mode' when corrupt files caused a computer memory glitch.

The robot, which  arrived on the red planet last August  to study its rocks, switched to its redundant onboard 'B-side' computer last week after the A-side computer that it had been running off showed signs of a corrupted memory location.

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Nasa said the Mars Curiosity rover should have made a full recovery by next week Image credit: Nasa

On the robot's Twitter feed, Nasa wrote: "Don't flip out: I just flipped over to my B-side computer while the team looks into an A-side memory issue."

Nasa said on Monday that Curiosity has recovered somewhat and is now on an active path after transitioning from a precautionary 'safe mode'. 

"We are making good progress in the recovery," Mars Science Laboratory project manager Richard Cook of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. 

"One path of progress is evaluating the A-side with intent to recover it as a backup. Also, we need to go through a series of steps with the B-side, such as informing the computer about the state of the rover - the position of the arm, the position of the mast, that kind of information."

The technical error has forced the robot to put its work on hold until the backup computer is reconfigured to take full control. 

Nasa said on Monday that it expects the robot to resume full operations by next week.

The space organisation has not yet determined why the A-side computer encountered memory problems but it is possible that the files may have been corrupted by cosmic rays as the hardware is only radiation-tolerant to a certain level, according to an interview with Space.com

The robot is on a mission to study the inside of the Gale Crater and assess whether it ever offered a habitable environment for life. 

Topics: Nasa / Space

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Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail, covering emerging technology in electronics, energy, defence, materials, aerospace, automotive and healthcare. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging... Full Bio

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