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A little image magic gets Curiosity's wheels turning again

Workaround de-glitches rover's computer

The Curiosity Rover is not about to become a nuclear waste dump on Mars as the trundling science lab has become mobile again after a glitch put it in safe mode last week.

The root cause of the bug is a little mysterious, but NASA reckons an image transfer mode brought about the glitch, so the agency will avoid using that mode, at least until they've nailed down a permanent fix.

The status update says drily:

The most likely cause of entry into safe mode has been determined to be a software mismatch in one mode of how image data are transferred on board. 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. Alternate means are available for handling and transmitting all image data.

The rover was brought out of safe mode on July 9, and the little nuclear-powered tractor re-entered full operations today (July 11, US time).

The rover's Twitter account was initially despondent about the timing of the outage.

That switched to apparent ennui:

Let's leave with a little levity from Curiosity's sarcastic doppleganger … ®

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