NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU
Channels scoured by ancient outbursts of flood waters are seen in this orbital view from Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System. The orbiter was in safe mode Monday after a computer glitch.
updated 9/17/2007 9:45:29 PM ET 2007-09-18T01:45:29

The Mars Odyssey orbiter was in safe mode Monday after a computer glitch prevented the 6-year-old spacecraft from relaying data from the twin rovers rolling across the Martian surface.

Project leaders said the Mars Odyssey was not in danger. Engineers discovered the problem Friday after a software glitch caused the onboard computers to reboot. The spacecraft last went into safe mode was in December when it was hit by a cosmic ray.

Mission manager Bob Mase of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said he expected the Mars Odyssey to return to normal by the middle of the week.

The rovers depend on the Mars Odyssey to send data to Earth and have been using their high-gain antenna to speak directly with Earth since the problem occurred.

One of the rovers, Opportunity, began a detailed investigation of the inner slope of Victoria Crater last week after doing a toe-dip of the massive hole. The six-wheeled robot is about 20 feet below the rim heading toward a light-toned layer of rock that may hold clues about the ancient environment.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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