March 25, 2013, 9:17 PM —
Image credit: Flickr/NASA Goddard Photo and Video
No, the Curiosity Rover hasn't been loafing or "Going Galt" since drilling a rock sample a couple of weeks ago that showed the Red Planet at one time could have supported at least simple forms of life.
It was a computer glitch that sidetracked the rover from continuing its scientific investigations of Mars, which has been home to Curiosity since last August.
NASA switched Curiosity to a backup computer nearly four weeks ago after the main, or "A," computer ran into a problem with its flash memory, triggering a perpetual reboot loop.
The rover has been functional using the "B" system -- which it's still using, with the "A" system now relegated to backup (that's like losing your starting job to an injury!) -- but activity was curtailed while NASA sorted out how to get the dozen engineering cameras on Curiosity under their control.
"We are back to full science operations," Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.
Which means monitoring the weather on Mars and delivering more of the powdered-rock sample for lab analysis.
The first sample tested earlier this month contained sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon, key chemical ingredients for life, NASA reported.
One would expect the same elements to show up in the new sample. We'll know soon enough.