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MRO in Safe Mode
MRO in Safe Mode
26 Aug 2009
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Mars Orbiter Puts Itself in Safe Mode Again
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
August 26, 2009

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter put itself into a
safe mode Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, for the fourth time this year,
while maintaining spacecraft health and communications. While in safe
mode, the spacecraft has limited activities pending further instructions
from ground controllers.

Engineers have begun the process of diagnosing the problem prior to
restoring the orbiter to normal science operations, a process expected
to take several days. They will watch for engineering data from the
spacecraft that might aid in identifying the cause of event and possibly
of previous ones. The orbiter spontaneously rebooted its computer
Wednesday, as it did in February and June, but did not switch to a
redundant computer, as it did in early August.

To help in investigating a root cause of the three previous anomalies,
engineers had programmed the spacecraft to frequently record engineering
data onto non-volatile memory. That could give an improved record of
spacecraft events leading up to the reboot.

"We hope to gain a better understanding of what is triggering these
events and then have the spacecraft safely resume its study of Mars by
next week," said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Jim
Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The spacecraft has been investigating Mars with six science instruments
since it reached that planet in 2006. It has returned more data than all
other current and past Mars missions combined.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


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Last Updated: 28 Aug 2009