Plans for the Curiosity rover are on hold after the $2.5-billion robot kicked into into “safe mode” on Saturday following a software error.
This is the second software hiccup in Curiosity’s seven months on Mars. In late February, Curiosity switched to its backup “B-side” computer when the robot failed to send recorded data back to Earth. The rover remained in communication with the ground despite the memory issue. The cause of the glitch is still under investigation.
This time around a file “failed a size-check by the rover’s protective software,” which had to do with an unrelated file being attached to the file that was being checked, NASA said in a statement.
Scientists believe this is an easy fix, but the rover will be out of commission for a few days while they slowly bring the machine out of standby status.
The second computer glitch comes after a big announcement that Mars contains all the ingredients to have once supported microbial life.
The rover was scheduled to do another drilling at Yellowknife Bay, where she’s parked now, in order to collect a second rock powder sample for analysis before rolling on to her next destination.
“We would definitely like to get over this and get back to doing something,” project manager Richard Cook told the AP.