NASA has had a difficult time concerning their exploratory mission of Mars since the beginning of 2019. Scientists and astronomers at the space agency had to bid goodbye to the long-serving Opportunity rover at the beginning of the year after a dust storm rendered it completely non-operational.
Shortly after the shutdown of Opportunity, the other Mars rover Curiosity entered ‘safe mode’ in a glitch which NASA still cannot completely explain. The loss of Curiosity could be devastating for NASA’s attempts to explore the surface of Mars and the team is on high alert to make sure that the rover does not go the same way as its fallen comrade.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have described the glitch which sent Curiosity into safe mode was nothing more than a ‘hiccup’ and have assured space lovers that the rover is back to full operational status and is currently examining a large rock in the Midland Valley of Mars. The bot has not malfunctioning since the unexplained glitch, but questions remain over its long-term viability.
NASA has explained that they are putting a significant amount of resources behind uncovering the source of the glitch. “The engineering team is working hard to understand the issue that occurred on Sol 2320, and upcoming plans will be dedicated to diagnostic activities, ” NASA explained in a blog post. Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have said that they are limiting the commands to the rover so that they can preserve the log of commands given to it prior to the safe mode shutdown in the hope of uncovering what prompted the problem.
While NASA is hopeful that the glitch was minor and that Curiosity will continue to function at full capacity, they are not taking any chances. The loss of curiosity could put an end to the current phase of Mars exploration and it could take a significant amount of time and expense to restart the operation.