It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
April 13, 2009
Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status Report
The team operating NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is examining data received from Spirit in recent days to diagnose why the rover apparently rebooted its computer at least twice over the April 11-12 weekend.
"While we don't have an explanation yet, we do know that Spirit's batteries are charged, the solar arrays are producing energy and temperatures are well within allowable ranges. We have time to respond carefully and investigate this thoroughly," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., project manager for Spirit and twin-rover Opportunity. "The rover is in a stable operations state called automode and taking care of itself. It could stay in this stable mode for some time if necessary while we diagnose the problem."
Spirit communicated with controllers Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but some of the communication sessions were irregular. One of the computer resets apparently coincided in timing with operation of the rover's high-gain dish antenna.
The rover team has the advantage of multiple communication options. Spirit can communicate directly with Earth via either the pointable high-gain antenna or, at a slower data rate, through a low-gain antenna that does not move. Additionally, communications can be relayed by Mars orbiters, using the UHF (ultra-high frequency) transceiver, a separate radio system on the rover.
"To avoid potential problems using the pointable antenna, we might consider for the time being just communicating by UHF relay or using the low-gain antenna," Callas said.
Spirit finished its three-month prime mission on Mars five years ago and has kept operating through multiple mission extensions.
The rover's onboard software has been updated several times to add new capabilities for the mission, most recently last month. The team is investigating whether the unexpected behavior in recent days could be related to the new software, but the same software is operating on Opportunity without incident.
"We are aware of the reality that we have an aging rover, and there may be age-related effects here," Callas said. jpl
I assume they're not using Vista so what could it be?
Originally posted by schrodingers dog
One of the computer resets apparently coincided in timing with operation of the rover's high-gain dish antenna.
Originally posted by DragonAce
As a computer technician, I know that even the smallest of changes to a computer can sometimes cause it to go haywire.
For example, I recently installed a Windows update on my HP laptop, and it caused Windows to pop up an error telling me that PowerPoint has a problem, and asking me to report it to Microsoft. Once I uninstalled that particular update, my problem has stopped.
The point I'm getting to is this: unless the Spirit and Opportunity rovers have the EXACT same hardware and everything in them, then a command that does one thing for one piece of hardware in Opportunity, may do something completely different for a similar (but not exactly the same) piece of hardware in Spirit. If that command causes the hardware or software to do something unexpected, the computer may shut itself down and restart to attempt to get rid of the error, or to prevent damage resulting from the incorrect command.
Does that make sense, or have I lost everyone?