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NASA conducts Martian tech support to repair Curiosity

Sharon Gaudin | March 6, 2013
A computer problem onboard the Mars rover Curiosity has forced NASA scientists to put the rover into safe mode while they try to bring a backup system online and try to figure out what is wrong with the main computer.

"It will continue functioning but it will be doing limited activities," said Erickson. "It won't move but we will have it doing limited science that won't include taking the drill out or anything. We'll have it doing imaging, using the mass cam and the chem cam."

Of course, that will be the case if NASA can either get Curiosity fully switched over to its backup system, or if it can get the main system back up and running.

This won't be the first time NASA engineers have had to work on Curiosity's software. Soon after it landed on the Red Planet, NASA updated the software on the rover's main and backup computers. Engineers moved from the software that handled Curiosity's entry, descent and landing to software that managed its ability to drive and do scientific work.

Not long before Curiosity's computer trouble began last week, the rover had collected a sample from the inside of a Martian rock. It's the first time NASA has been able to collect a rock sample on another planet.


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