CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - NASA's Curiosity Mars rover resumed full operations on Monday, July 11, 2016, following an investigation by NASA engineers to determine why the rover put itself into a safe standby mode on July 2. The rover team brought Curiosity out of safe mode on July 9.
NASA says that the most likely cause of entry into safe mode was due to a software mismatch in one mode of how image data are transferred on board. Future science activity planning for the rover is avoiding use of that mode, which involves writing images from some cameras’ memories into files on the rover’s main computer. Curiosity has alternate means available for handling and transmitting all image data.
The rover landed in Mars' Gale Crater in August 2012. During its first year on Mars, the mission achieved its goal by determining that, more than 3 billion years ago, the region offered fresh-water lakes and rivers with environmental conditions well-suited to supporting microbial life, if life has ever existed on Mars. In continuing investigations, the mission is learning more about the ancient wet environments and how and when they evolved to drier and less habitable conditions.
Last week, NASA approved an additional two-year mission extension, beginning Oct. 1, 2016, for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which developed and operates Curiosity.
ABOVE IMAGE: This May 11, 2016, self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the "Okoruso" drilling site on lower Mount Sharp's "Naukluft Plateau." The scene is a mosaic of multiple images taken with the arm-mounted Mars Hands Lens Imager (MAHLI). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS