The Mars Report – Playing Catch-Up


Dear Readers, a lot has happened (up on Mars) in my absence and in this issue of the Mars Report I am going to work towards getting us caught-up! I was going through all the images that have come from Mars in the past two months and came along something very unexpected. On first glance it just looks like a shot of two of Curiosity’s tires (twenty inch tires, btw) from one of the navigation cameras (Navcams). Then it struck me what was wrong with this picture.

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The image I was looking at was a mirror image to one that I had posted here, previously, at The Other Shoe. This sparked my interest, so I started reading the news story that was posted with this new image (of the Left front and center tires). See, previously I had only seen images that came from the Right Navcameras, not the left. So, as I was reading I discover that I was correct. For the first six months of the Mars-Curiosity mission only the right navcam had been used, but that changed back in the later part of March.

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Explanation; Curiosity has TWO main computers. On the rover there is one ‘Right’ computer (the one being used as ‘Primary’ since prior to launch, and one ‘Left’ computer. This redundancy was established so that Curiosity has a ‘Back-Up’ computer. Brilliant! If something were to go wrong with the main computer, they could just fire up the other from the last back up. I do something similar (as do most computer geeks and businesses) here at home; only I do it with just one computer. Every two weeks I make a back up of my ‘System Drive’ or ‘C:’ drive. Along with ‘System Restore’ I have a quick and easy way to get my computer back up and running if something goes wrong.

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Evidently the right computer, in Curiosity, was having some memory problems. Explained by NASA as a “memory glitch” on March 23, 2013 they moved all system functions and controls over from the right side computer over to the left side computer. This is why we had not seen pictures, before, from the left side Navcams. Everything is now running fine and this did resolve the memory glitch. Now, let me be clear, I am still catching up so I do not have the most recent update on this memory glitch problem. Curiosity needs to have both computers working to avoid ‘bricking’ Curiosity. If NASA cannot keep a clean back up of the main computer there could be a catastrophic failure that could end the mission.

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Below is the image from the left side Navcam that spawned this article. I will be reading up more on this memory glitch problem and getting the information to you, My Dear Readers, just as quickly as I can. I appreciate your dropping by and sharing in this Martian Adventure.

ENJOY!

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 Curiosity Left Nacam Image

(Curiosity Left NavCam Shot of Left Front & Center Tires)

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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