Mars Rover Drops Into Safe Mode

by Nate Wooley | March 19, 2013 10:40 am

curiosity-mars-rover-painting[1]Mars rover Curiosity is suffering its second setback this month when it went into safe mode over the weekend.

The latest error — which follows an earlier one regarding computer memory — put the rover’s computer into safe mode, reports the Associated Press[2].

Being in safe mode means that, while the device is in contact with controllers on Earth, it can’t perform any experiments or move. Scientists expect that it will be the end of the week before a fix can be made and experiments can resume.

The team managing the rover announced the delay in a tweet from the machine. The tweet came from @MarsCuriosity and read, “Safety Dance: Team diagnosed software issue that prompted weekend safe mode. Back to science in a few days.”

Immediately before shifting to safe mode, the rover was drilling into a nearby rock to get powder to analyze. It was a similar experiment the previous week that led the team to announce that, while life had not been found, the ancient environment of Mars could have been hospitable to life.

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