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View Diary: This week in science: billions and billionaires (107 comments)

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  •  Curioisty is at a standstill right now (11+ / 0-)

    I wear out the Curioisty/MSL photo page every day, looking for new pix from Mars. lately there have been just none and it appeared to me that Curioisty was at a standstill.

    Sure enough....

    NASA Mission Status Report

    PASADENA, Calif. - The ground team for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has switched the rover to a redundant onboard computer in response to a memory issue on the computer that had been active.

    The intentional swap at about 2:30 a.m. PST today (Thursday, Feb. 28) put the rover, as anticipated, into a minimal-activity precautionary status called "safe mode." The team is shifting the rover from safe mode to operational status over the next few days and is troubleshooting the condition that affected operations yesterday. The condition is related to a glitch in flash memory linked to the other, now-inactive, computer.

    "We switched computers to get to a standard state from which to begin restoring routine operations," said Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates Curiosity.

    Like many spacecraft, Curiosity carries a pair of redundant main computers in order to have a backup available if one fails. Each of the computers, A-side and B-side, also has other redundant subsystems linked to just that computer. Curiosity is now operating on its B-side, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. It operated on its A-side from before the August 2012 landing through Wednesday.

    I am eating my fingernails off in anticipation of fabulous pix of the lower reaches of the Gale Crater Canyon.

    Nerd anxiety.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:09:54 AM PST

    •  It's (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, palantir, bythesea, 1BQ

      part of the conspiracy to conceal NASA's leading complicity in the Roswell coup.

    •  Talking about MSL Curosity's lean firmware (4+ / 0-)

      There was a Curiosity news Briefing from JPL, in August of last year, where Ben Cichy - MSL Software Chief Engineer - discussed the lean firmware of MSL Curiosity and the initial update to the lander after her successful landing on the Martian regolith. His section of the panel starts in minute 33, in the recording at UStream.

      I think it provides a meaningful sense of context to the limitations that NASA's engineers have to address, in designing just the computer system to operate the rover, to "make it go" - let alone, in addressing the additional complexity of her science instruments platform, which also must function in the atmosphere of another planet. I think it must be a challenging set of requirements to address. Barring if there may've been any glitches in the circuit components they received, I think that it's been a remarkable success - backed, for padding, with the space-classic "Redundant systems" policy, of course....

      •  30 degrees in the day, 100 below at night (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        plus dust devils.

        Let's see an iPad put up with that....

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:15:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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