Curiosity Update

A NAV_LEFT_B image from Curiostiy on Sol 465.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A NAV_LEFT_B image from Curiostiy on Sol 465. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity rover has resumed operations on the Martian surface. The the voltage drop of 17 Nov. that halted Curiosity’s operations was diagnosed (see Curious Troubles).

The “likely” cause of the voltage drop was determined to be an internal short in Curiosity’s Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. The design is robust and the short apparently does not affect operation of the power source or the rover. These systems are on other spacecraft, Cassini for example and the shorts don’t seem to result in a loss of capability. Putting those two things together mission managers decided to resume operations.

Interestingly after the decision to resume science activities was made engineers learned the voltage level drop had reversed and is back at the pre-drop level of 17 Nov.

The image is from the left Navcam on Curiosity of Sol 465 (26 November 2013). Makes me wonder about how much mileage they are going to get out of the wheels, that one looks more  beat up than I would have thought.  Perhaps the wear could simply be from the way Curiosity landed, I’m not sure.