The 2019 lunar calendar is here! Order yours before they leave. Make amazing gifts.
NASA's Mars Curiosity rover is driving and doing science again after experiencing a memory anomaly in September. The truck drove about 197 feet (60 meters) over the weekend to a site called Lake Orcadie, pushing the total odometry to more than 12 miles (20 kilometers). This is Curiosity's longest drive since experiencing a memory anomaly on September 15, 2018. The plow switched to a backup computer, called Side-A computer, on October 3.
As with many spacecraft, the Curiosity is designed with two, redundant computers – in this case, referred to as Side-A and Side-B computers – so that they can continue operations if someone experiences an error. After reviewing several options, JPL engineers recommend that the rover switch from Side B to Side A.
The Curiosity technician team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory continues to diagnose anomalies on Side B computers. Curiosity uses computer Side A initially after landing on Mars in August 2012. Side A encountered hardware and software problems more than five years ago, NASA said, leaving plows that cannot be handled and run the battery. At that time, the team managed to move to Sisi B. The engineer has since diagnosed and quarantined the affected part of Side A's memory so that the computer is again available to support the mission. Steven Lee from JPL is Curiosity's deputy project manager. Lee said in a statement:
At this point, we believe we will return to full operation, but it is too early to say how fast. We are operating on Side A starting today, but it takes time for us to fully understand the root of the problem and find a solution for memory on Sisi B.
We spent the last week checking Side A and preparing it to swap. Of course it's possible to carry out missions on the Sisi-A computer if we really need to. But our plan is to switch back to Side B as soon as we can fix the problem to use a larger memory size.
The bottom line: NASA's Curiosity rover has made the longest trip since experiencing a memory anomaly on September 15, 2018.