Martian probe suddenly switched to a spare computer. / August 11, 2009 /
Probe Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suddenly switched to a spare computer, and moved to safe mode. Currently, engineers are conducting a series of tests that should determine the reasons for the unusual behavior of the probe.
The case is complicated by the fact that the switching of the data on the status of the probe directly to the device switching has been lost. According to experts, the return of the spacecraft in good working condition will take a few days.
In recent months, this is not the first such problem, but, according to engineers, the new failure is markedly different from previous ones.
The last of these events took place June 4, 2009. Then the computer unexpectedly restarts the device and also moved to safe mode. Specialists involved in restoration work in several phases: June 6, has been restored your computer, and June 9, earned Tools probe. In addition, similar to rebooting occurred in February 2009.
According to the engineers, the cause of such failures is likely to be an impact on the electronics of cosmic rays.
In December 2008, NASA announced the end of the mission MRO, but engineers believe that the unit should have at least until 2010. Mission Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched in 2006. During the probe was able to transmit data to Earth than all previous Martian missions combined. In particular, the apparatus was able to locate deposits of ice and methane, which is currently the subject of ongoing scientific dispute.
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