NASA's Opportunity Rover Suffers More Amnesia on Mars

 / Updated  / Source: Space.com

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NASA's Opportunity Mars rover has suffered another bout of amnesia, less than a week after engineers installed a software upgrade intended to fix the robot's memory issues.

The long-lived Opportunity rover began experiencing problems with its flash memory — the kind that can store data even when the power is off — in late 2014. On March 20, mission engineers uploaded new software that aimed to fix the issue by bypassing an apparently faulty "bank." (The rover has seven such flash memory banks.)

But Opportunity experienced another brief amnesia episode on March 25, NASA officials said.

"Although we are a little disappointed at the occurrence of an amnesia event only five days after reformatting, we are not surprised," John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "There is still no clear understanding of what is causing the problems. Only time will tell if we have been successful in mitigating the most serious flash problems."

Opportunity was experiencing multiple computer resets per day before mission team members began operating the rover in a "no flash memory" mode in December. No such serious issues have resurfaced since the March 20 reformatting, NASA officials said. The brief March 25 event didn't result in the loss of any science data, and Opportunity resumed its work shortly thereafter.

— Mike Wall, Space.com

This is a condensed version of an article that appeared on Space.com. Read the entire story here. Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow Space.com on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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