Feeds

Storage glitch sends Curiosity into safe mode

In space, no-one can find your last known good configuration

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Nuclear-powered, laser-armed space tank Curiosity is currently working in safe mode, after one of the craft's onboard computers developed a memory glitch.

NASA has switched the craft to its “B” computer, a device identical to the problematic “A” unit, and says “a glitch in flash memory” is the source of the problem.

Curiosity carries two computers, Rover Compute Element-A and the spare Rover Compute Element-B. As we've reported previously, both are powered by a hardened 200MHz PowerPC 750 CPU. Each is equipped with 256MB of RAM, 250KB of read-only memory (in an EEPROM that can be wiped if required) and 2GB of flash storage.

While NASA has not revealed the exact nature of RCE-A's problems but says before it was shut down it “did not send recorded data”. As our previous report states the 2GB of Flash memory is where the rover stores data before beaming it home, it seems highly likely, based on NASA's statement, that it is that 2GB of flash and not the EEPROM that is the source of the problem.

Other reports suggest the rover continuously rebooted due to the flash glitch.

Whatever the source of the problem, Curiosity is now running on RCE-B, which is behaving as its makers intended, but NASA is keeping things simple by doing no science until it can figure out what's wrong.

Magdy Bareh, leader of the mission's anomaly resolution team has said, in a canned statement, that “While we are resuming operations on the B-side, we are also working to determine the best way to restore the A-side as a viable backup.” ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.