Thursday, September 20, 2007

News Update: 2001 Mars Odyssey in Safe Mode After Glitch

Credit: NASA

I just came across this news report, dated September 17th (Monday), about 2001 Mars Odyssey on Yahoo news. Unfortunately, there's no new information on Odyssey's status on the NASA/JPL webpage.

PASADENA, Calif. - The Mars Odyssey orbiter was in safe mode Monday after a computer glitch prevented the 6-year-old spacecraft from relaying data from the twin rovers rolling across the Martian surface.

Project leaders said the Mars Odyssey was not in danger. Engineers discovered the problem Friday after a software glitch caused the onboard computers to reboot. The spacecraft last went into safe mode was in December when it was hit by a cosmic ray.

Mission manager Bob Mase of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said he expected the Mars Odyssey to return to normal by the middle of the week.

The rovers depend on the Mars Odyssey to send data to Earth and have been using their high-gain antenna to speak directly with Earth since the problem occurred.

One of the rovers, Opportunity, began a detailed investigation of the inner slope of Victoria Crater last week after doing a toe-dip of the massive hole. The six-wheeled robot is about 20 feet below the rim heading toward a light-toned layer of rock that may hold clues about the ancient environment.

The above diagram is an engineering schematic of 2001 Mars Odyssey in its mapping configuration.

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