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Curiosity Rover Exploring Mars To Soon Resume Operations After Short-Circuit Disables Robotic Arm

Curiosity Rover

The Mars rover “Curiosity” is likely set to resume operations invoking the use of its robotic arm next week according to reports which indicate that the cause of the sporadic-short circuit is still under investigation by NASA researchers in charge of the rover.

The rover’s robotic arm was automatically disabled after a short-circuit was detected on February 27, 2015. The problem occurred while it was, according to NASA, “conducting an early step in the transfer of rock powder collected by the drill on the arm to laboratory instruments inside the rover.”

Jim Erickson, Curiosity’s project manager, indicated that the team was engaged in “test on the vehicle in its present configuration” aimed at determining the cause of the problem and whether the issue could be remotely repaired.

Erickson was quoted in a Science Times report as having said that the disabled arm “most likely” comes as a result of “an intermittent short in the percussion mechanism of the drill.”

The most likely cause is an intermittent short in the percussion mechanism of the drill. After further analysis to confirm that diagnosis, we will be analyzing how to adjust for that in future drilling.

The nuclear-powered rover is tasked with the exploration of the red planet’s Gale Crater as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which is responsible for the civilian space program in addition to aerospace and aeronautics research, is behind the MSL mission.

The error which caused the problem took place on what was the 911th day of the MSL mission on Mars.

Are you excited to see the Curiosity rover back in action?

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