6 July 2016

Curiosity Update: Safe Mode

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Mastcam view of Murray Buttes showing a precariously balanced boulder.

The Curiosity rover activities planned for Sols 1387 and 1388 completed successfully, and lots of good data were returned including a stunning Right Mastcam panorama of the “Murray Buttes” toward the southwest.  One of the images in this panorama shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced.  No, we don’t plan to drive right up next to it, but we’ll probably get closer looks as the rover proceeds toward Mount Sharp.

Early on Sol 1389, the rover entered “safe mode,” apparently due to a software problem that is still not fully understood.  So the 3-sol plan did not execute but the rover and all subsystems are healthy.  Science planning has been suspended while critical engineering data are returned to Earth and studied by software experts at JPL.  I’m SOWG Chair again today, with not much to do because of the anomaly, but I’m anxiously following the tactical team’s progress in recovering from safe mode.

By Ken Herkenhoff

Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status