Feeds

NASA rover resurrected twice over Easter weekend

Mars explorer 'Spirit', of course

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.