Curiosity Rover goes to sleep while the solar storm is moving towards the Mars

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory detected the solar eruption on March 5 (Credit: AP Photo/NASA)

NASA’s Curiosity Rover team is now waiting for the solar storm to pass and has put the robot in the standby mode. Rover has recently come out of “safe mode” on Saturday (March 2).

“We’ll be watching and seeing what happens,” said Roger Gibbs, JPL deputy manager for the Mars exploration program.

The team is not so much worried about the shutdown as they designed Curiosity to withstand such solar outbursts as reported by the Associated Press. However, the storm problem could delay the science project that was thought to be completed this weekend. Now, the rover is also not able to track the solar particles as its radiation sensors are not in working condition.

“We’re being more careful,” project manager Richard Cook of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Wednesday.

The rover landed on Mars in August, 2012 and worked perfectly until last Wednesday (February 27), when the glitch in the Curiosity’s main, or A-side, computer system of the robot failed to send the observations to the scientists and engineers on Earth and didn’t went to planned sleep mode. After this fault, the engineers set the rover to its B-side computer i.e. backup.

NASA officials are hopeful that the Tuesday’s solar flare that coronal mass ejection (CME)  is accompanying solar outburst, which gave out a huge cloud of solar plasma toward the planet, would not affect the other robotic Mars explorers such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or Opportunity rover and they would carried on their normal activities, the Associated Press reported.

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