NASA’s Mars rover resumes work after electrical glitch

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 21:34

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is back to work on the Red Planet after being suspended from all science operations for nearly a week with an electrical glitch.

The one tonne rover resumed operations on November 23 following a successful diagnosis of the likely cause of a change in voltage on the vehicle.

The glitch was detected by the mission engineers on November 17, following which the six-wheeled robot underwent investigation.

“We made a list of potential causes, and then determined which we could cross off the list, one by one,” said rover electrical engineer Rob Zimmerman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The likely cause of the glitch was an internal short in Curiosity’s power source, the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.

NASA said that due to resiliency in design, such a short does not affect operation of the power source or the rover.

The glitch did not affect the rover safety or health as its electrical system has a “floating bus” design feature to tolerate a range of voltage differences between the vehicle’s chassis and the 32-volt power lines that deliver electricity throughout the rover, said NASA scientists.

Following the decision to resume science activities on Mars, mission engineers learned that the rover had returned to its pre-November 17 voltage level.

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