Wednesday October 17, 2018
Home Lead Story Curiosity Rov...

Curiosity Rover Completes 6 Years On Mars: NASA

Based on the longevity of a 2001 global storm, NASA scientists estimate it may be September before the haze has cleared enough for Opportunity to power up and call home.

0
//
28
TESS, rover, opportunity
NASA Curiosity rover has completed 6 years on Mars. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

NASA’s Curiosity rover is celebrating its sixth anniversary on Mars which is currently experiencing a global storm.

“I touched down on #Mars six years ago. Celebrating my 6th landing anniversary with the traditional gift of iron oxide. (It puts the red in Red Planet.),” said a tweet sent out by the rover on Sunday.

Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s “habitability.”

The rover is currently keeping its “eyes” on a dust event that had gone global by June 20.

The rover is currently keeping its "eyes" on a dust event that had gone global by June 20. Flickr
The rover is currently keeping its “eyes” on a dust event that had gone global by June 20. Flickr

Most of NASA’s spacecraft are studying the dust storm from above. But the Curiosity rover has a unique perspective: the nuclear-powered science machine is largely immune to the darkened skies, allowing it to collect science from within the beige veil enveloping the planet.

Curiosity has a number of “eyes” that can determine the abundance and size of dust particles based on how they scatter and absorb light, NASA said in a statement in July.

That includes its Mastcam, ChemCam, and an ultraviolet sensor on REMS, its suite of weather instruments.

NASA lost contact with its Opportunity rover due to the storm.

Also Read: NASA: No Contact Made With Storm-Hit Mars Rovers, Till Now

Based on the longevity of a 2001 global storm, NASA scientists estimate it may be September before the haze has cleared enough for Opportunity to power up and call home. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Chandra Observatory By NASA Back in Action

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance

0
NASA, space
NASA's Chandra Observatory back in action. Pixabay

NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory, observing the universe in high-energy light since 1999, is back in action after suffering a glitch due to the failure of the gyroscope and going into safe mode last week.

The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode, according to the US space agency.

“The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that, in turn, led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode,” NASA said in a statement late on Monday.

The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve.

Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week, NASA said.

On October 10, Chandra X-ray Observatory entered safe mode, in which the observatory is put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of five years. In 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years.

NASA
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October. Flickr

The US space agency said that it was also continuing to work towards resuming science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope that on October 5, entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) being used to point and steady the telescope failed.

Gyroscopes help spacecraft maintain proper orientation.

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

Till that time, science operations with Hubble have been suspended.

You May Also Like to Read About- Invasive Species May Not Be All Bad: Scientists

Besides Chandra and Hubble, NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope is also almost out of fuel. Kepler has found about 70 per cent of all known alien worlds to date.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October.

The space agency’s Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity too have faced issues of late. (IANS)