NASA hasn’t had a lot of luck lately with its Mars rovers. For the past few months, a global dust storm has threatened the agency’s Opportunity rover, and now the Curiosity rover has suffered a setback as well. According to a recent mission update, the rover has experienced some kind of bug that prevents it from sending back some of its data.
According to the update, the mission team noticed something was wrong on Saturday night. While live data from Curiosity was coming in just fine, NASA couldn’t access some of the information stored in its memory banks. Even after multiple days of trying, that data still remains trapped on Mars. Until the problems are fixed, it’ll be harder for NASA scientists to use the rover to explore the planet.
Fortunately, this seems like a problem that has a solution. The live data NASA still has access to contains information about the rover’s status, and there’s a good chance engineers can use that information to fix the problem. Even in a worst-case scenario, Curiosity has a backup computer that can be used to diagnose the problem or even run the rover.
NASA hasn’t given any sort of timeframe on when we can expect Curiosity to be up and running again, but the attitude from the engineers appears to be that it’s only a matter of time. While they’re waiting for the rover to be fixed, the science team is taking an opportunity to plan the mission’s next moves.