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Mars rover Curiosity stands down after new problem

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm •  Published: March 18, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — After recovering from a computer problem, the Mars rover Curiosity is sidelined again, further delaying the restart of science experiments.

The latest complication occurred over the weekend when the six-wheel rover entered safe mode after experiencing a software file error.

Curiosity remained in contact with ground controllers, but it can't zap rocks, snap pictures or roam around until the problem is fixed. Rover team members had expected to resume activities Monday, but they now have to wait a bit longer — perhaps until the end of the week.

"We would definitely like to get over this and get back to doing something," said project manager Richard Cook of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which operates the $2.5 billion mission.

Studies at the Gale Crater landing site have been on hold since the beginning of March after engineers discovered a problem with Curiosity's computer memory, possibly caused by space radiation. The latest snafu isn't as serious, but any unexpected problem throws off the schedule, Cook said.

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