Photo Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
In addition to more than two weeks of scientific operations, NASA's Curiosity rover Mars has traveled the longest since experiencing a memory anomaly two months ago, pushing its total odometry to more than 20 kilometers.
This pirate is now located on Lake Orcadie, the Red Planet, a site where NASA had previously tried to drill into gray rock.
NASA has previously attempted to obtain rock samples using the Curiosity drill on these sites. However, the rover instrument does not penetrate far enough into the bedrock to produce sufficient samples.
On Tuesday, Curiosity traveled 60 meters to this old site.
With this latest drive, Curiosity's mission returns to business, NASA said in a statement, adding that the next drilling event will take place this weekend.
"At this point, we believe we will return to full operation, but it is too early to say how fast," said Steven Lee of JPL, Curiosity vice project manager.
Working on memory anomalies, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California have ordered the rover to switch to a second computer called the Side-A computer.
This switch will allow engineers to make detailed diagnoses of technical problems that have prevented active computer rover (Side B) from storing scientific data and several key techniques since September 15, NASA said.
"We are operating on Side A starting today, but we need time to fully understand the root causes of the problem and develop solutions for memory on Side B.
A computer swap will allow data and event records to be stored on the Side-A computer.
"We spent the last week checking Side A and preparing it for swaps," Lee said.
"It's of course possible to carry out the mission on Side-A computer if we really need to. But our plan is to go back to Side B as soon as we can fix the problem to use a larger memory size."