FEBRUARY 11 2012 01:25h
NASA fixes computer glitch on Mars craft
The fix involved changing how certain unused data-holding locations, called registers, are configured in memory chips used in a computer processor on the spacecraft, a NASA release said Friday.
Engineers said the unexpected reset occurred Nov. 29, three days after launch, during use of the craft's star scanner.
In rare sets of circumstances, unique to how this mission uses the processor, the release said, cache access errors could occur resulting in instructions not being executed properly.
"Good detective work on understanding why the reset occurred has yielded a way to prevent it from occurring again," said Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Manager Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
"The successful resolution of this problem was the outcome of productive teamwork by engineers at the computer manufacturer and JPL."
The spacecraft began normal use of its star tracker and true celestial navigation this week after its software update, NASA said.
The Mars Science Laboratory's car-size rover Curiosity is to land on Mars Aug. 6.
PASADENA, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Engineers say they've found the cause of a computer reset that occurred two months ago on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory bound for Mars.