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NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has unexpectedly rebooted its main computer and entered a protective safe mode after being hit by stray cosmic ray or solar particle as while circling the red planet.The event occurred Wednesday night at 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 June 4 GMT) and appears similar to a glitch that stalled the powerful Mars orbiter's science work in February, mission managers said.
"The flight team is cautiously bringing the orbiter back to normal operations," orbiter project manager Jim Erickson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement released Thursday. "We should be resuming our exploration of Mars by next week."
The clear-air voltage gradient of Earth at sea level is about 100 volts per meter.