Curiosity enters ‘safe mode’ after memory is corrupted, possibly by cosmic rays

Curiosity self portrait

A memory issue on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has led engineers to switch the rover’s operations onto its backup computer. NASA says Curiosity is currently in a “safe mode” while its backup computer is updated to take control of the rover — once it’s running again, the rover will be able to use the backup system for it’s primary operations. The issue shouldn’t result in any long-term disruptions for Curiosity.

The memory issue was caught on Wednesday when engineers noticed that Curiosity had not sent recorded data back to Earth or switch into a daily sleep mode as it was expected to. The error was caused by corrupted memory files that led to a glitch on the rover’s primary computer. The cause of the corrupted memory is still…

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