Feeds

NASA rover resurrected twice over Easter weekend

Mars explorer 'Spirit', of course

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

In what could be an attempt to trump Jesus of Nazareth's record for divine Easter resurrections, NASA has said its Mars Exploration Rover Spirit mysteriously rebooted twice during the holiday weekend.

"While we don't have an explanation yet, we do know that Spirit's batteries are charged, the solar arrays are producing energy and temperatures are well within allowable ranges," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement.

"The rover is in a stable operation state called automode and taking care of itself. It could stay in this stable mode for some time if necessary while we diagnose the problem."

May we suggest three days will do the trick?

The (perhaps now-Holy) Spirit was able to communicate with controllers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but some of the communication sessions were "irregular," NASA reported. One of the computer resets occurred while the rover was using its pointable high-gain dish antenna, but the scientists are sure its the problem.

Fortunately, the long-in-tooth rover also sports an immovable low-gain antenna that communicates back to Earth at a slower data rate. It also can relay messages off Mars orbiters using a separate ultra-high frequency (UHF) transceiver system.

"To avoid potential problems using the pointable antenna, we might consider for the time being just communicating by UHF relay or using the low-gan antenna," Callas stated.

Spirit's onboard software has been updated several times during its three-month mission - which actually ended five years ago - as well as its extended scientific puttering about the Martian landscape since then. Boffins also suspect the problem could be with Spirits new software, but the same software is operating on Spirit's twin-rover Opportunity without problems.

Diagnosis: miracle. Or maybe something boring like old age.

"We are aware of the reality that we have an aging rover, and there may be age-related effects here," Callas said. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.