NASA fixes computer glitch on robot traveling to Mars

By , Computerworld |  Science, NASA, robotics

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NASA engineers updated the software for a robotic Mars rover, correcting a more than two-month-old computer glitch while the robot hurtled through space on its way to Mars.

Late in November, NASA launched its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory. Dubbed Curiosity, the SUV-sized super rover is on an eight-month journey to Mars with a mission to help scientists learn if life ever existed on the Red Planet.

However, a problem caused a computer reset on the rover Nov. 29, three days after launch, NASA reported last week. The problem was due to a cache access error in the memory management unit of the rover's computer processor, a RAD750 from BAE Systems.

"Good detective work on understanding why the reset occurred has yielded a way to prevent it from occurring again," said Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Manager Richard Cook, in a statement. "The successful resolution of this problem was the outcome of productive teamwork by engineers at the computer manufacturer and [NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory]."

Guy Webster, a spokesman for the JPL, told Computerworld that because of the processor glitch, the rover's ground team was unable to use the craft's star scanner, which is designed for celestial navigation.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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