Mars Curiosity Rover Is out of Safe Mode and Back to Work

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The Mars Curiosity rover is back in action after a little unplanned break gave it some time off. The rover experienced a malfunction over the Fourth of July weekend that put it into safe mode, and now that the support team back here on Earth has determined that everything will be fine, the robot can resume science operations on the Red Planet.

Back when the anomaly first occurred and the rover shut down for its own wellbeing, scientists at NASA weren’t quite sure what the problem was, but it seemed to be a software issue with Curiosity’s imaging software—not any crazy Mars weather or aliens. Now, they’ve confirmed that the problem was with one of the rover’s imaging modes, which they’re planning not to use any more in order to avoid the problem altogether. They weren’t specific about which mode, but my bet is still the one where it captures selfie stick-less pics of itself while it’s all alone on Mars, which is witchcraft, I tell you! (Or image compositing.)

The rover emerged from safe mode on July 9 and has resumed full operations as of yesterday. This software glitch is the first thing to put Curiosity in safe mode since 2013, and with it fixed—or at least avoided—and out of the way, things will hopefully be relatively smooth sailing for the rest of its functional time on Mars. That’s good, considering its mission was recently extended by an additional two years, and it’s possible it could still be trucking along when we send another robot there in 2020.

(via Engadget, image via NASA)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>