Tuesday October 22, 2019
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Mars Curiosity Rover Returns Back to Work: NASA

The computer swap will allow data and event records to be stored on the Side-A computer

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US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

Besides over two weeks of scientific operations, NASA Mars Curiosity rover has conducted its longest drive since experiencing a memory anomaly two months ago, pushing its total odometry to over 20 kilometers.

The rover is now located at the Red Planet’s Lake Orcadie, a site where NASA previously attempted to drill into the grey rock.

NASA had previously attempted to get rock samples using Curiosity’s drill at these sites. However, the rover’s instrument did not penetrate far enough into the bedrock to generate sufficient samples.

On Tuesday, Curiosity made a 60-metre trip to this old site.

With this latest drive, the Curiosity mission is back to business, NASA said in a statement, adding that the next drilling event will take place some time later this week.

“At this point, we’re confident we’ll be getting back to full operations, but it’s too early to say how soon,” said Steven Lee of JPL, Curiosity’s deputy project manager.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar
On Tuesday, Curiosity made a 60-metre trip to this old site. Flickr

Working on memory anomaly issue, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California had commanded the rover to switch to its second computer called the Side-A computer.

The switch will enable engineers conduct a detailed diagnosis of a technical issue that has prevented the rover’s active computer (Side B) from storing scienctific and some key engineering data since September 15, NASA said.

“We are operating on Side A starting today, but it could take us time to fully understand the root cause of the issue and devise workarounds for the memory on Side B.

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The computer swap will allow data and event records to be stored on the Side-A computer.

“We spent the last week checking out Side A and preparing it for the swap,” Lee said.

“It’s certainly possible to run the mission on the Side-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 utilise its larger memory size.” (IANS)

Next Story

NASA Making a ‘Rigorous’ Search for Vikram with Fresh Lunar Pictures

LRO will next fly around the region on November 10 and it will be another good opportunity with favourable lighting conditions for pictures, Petro said

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nasa, trump, moon mission
NASA also plans to build a space outpost in lunar orbit that can relay astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024. VOA

BY ARUL LOUIS

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has taken a fresh set of pictures under better lighting conditions of the area where the Indian moon lander Vikram likely ended up and experts will be making a rigorous search for it, according to LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro.

“The lighting conditions on Monday were much more favourable, (with) less shadow in the region” compared to last month, Petro told IANS on Wednesday.

Scientists were not able to locate the Vikram in the pictures taken during the LRO’s last flyover on September 17, when it was dusk on the moon and the long shadows that covered much of the terrain may be hidden in it, NASA said at that time.

“We flew over the landing site on Monday and the camera team is still evaluating images, so we should know more in the next few days,” Noah said.

Chandrayaan 2, India, Moon
Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious expedition to the moon’s south pole, made headlines globally even as Vikram, the lander of the mission, lost contact with the orbiter. Pixabay

“We will do a careful search, we will be as rigorous as possible” and “we will find out soon” what happened to the Vikram moon lander, said Petro, who is based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland near Washington.

“This is a large area, we don’t know exactly where we have to look. So it will take some time to search the images because we are looking over a very, very large area,” he added.

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Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following its launch from Chandraayan 2 moon orbiter on September 6 and likely landed in an area around the moon’s South Pole.

LRO will next fly around the region on November 10 and it will be another good opportunity with favourable lighting conditions for pictures, Petro said. (IANS)