Curiosity Rover Computer Failure Halts Science

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has suffered a computer failure, placing the machine in ‘safe mode’ and halting further operations temporarily until software is updated. The primary computer on-board, affectionately known as “A-side”, stopped responding on Wednesday 27th after it failed to send its daily data dump back to NASA.

“Don’t flip out: I just flipped over to my B-side computer while the team looks into an A-side memory issue,” NASA posted on the rover’s Twitter account.

Setting the secondary computer up to take control of the entire rover will take some time, approximately one week. NASA don’t know what caused the failure but suggest it could have been a stray cosmic ray – the computers are heavily shielded but damage is still possible. [arstechnica]