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MRO Status Report
MRO Status Report
4 Sep 2009
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- During analysis of four safe-mode events this year,
engineers for NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project have identified
a vulnerability to the effects of subsequent events. They are currently
developing added protection to eliminate this vulnerability while they
continue analysis of the string of incidents this year in which the
spacecraft has spontaneously rebooted its computer or switched to a
backup computer.

The team is keeping the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in a precautionary
"safe" mode, with healthy power, temperatures and communications, while
continuing analysis and precautions subsequent to the latest rebooting,
on Aug. 26. Science observations will likely not resume for several
weeks while this preventive care is the mission's priority.

The analysis identified one possible but unlikely scenario jeopardizing
the spacecraft. This scenario would require two computer resets, each
worse than any so far, occurring within several minutes of each other in
a certain pattern.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, at Mars since 2006, has met the
mission's science goals and returned more data than all other Mars
missions combined. It completed its primary science phase of operations
in November 2008 but remains an important contributor to science and to
future landed missions. Continuing science observations are planned when
the spacecraft is brought out of its current precautionary mode.

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


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Last Updated: 4 Sep 2009