Can a Mars rover face an existential crisis? NASA’s Curiosity is looking to know exactly where it is on Mars after a technical failure,media CNET reported. Dawn Sumner, a planetary geologist at the University of California, Davis and a member of the Curiosity mission team, wrote in this week’s mission update: Curiosity lost its way in the last set of activities. “
Curiosity stores information about its body posture and joint orientation in memory. This includes details of the local landscape, the location of the robotic arm, and the direction the instrument is pointing. All of this data could help the rover know exactly where it is on Mars and how it moves safely.
“Curiosity stopped moving and remained in place until the understanding of the direction was restored,” Sumner wrote. Curiosity is still in touch with teams on Earth. “The engineers on the team made a plan to inform Curiosity of its posture and confirm what happened,” Sumner said. Scientists will also work to prevent this failure from happening again.
NASA has several machines on Mars and orbits around the Red Planet, but Curiosity is the only rover currently in operation. Although the history of technological failures occasionally delays its scientific mission, it survives and survives. Although NASA plans to launch a new Mars 2020 Mars rover in July, the agency plans to keep Curiosity operational.