NASA technicians say they have taken the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter out of the precautionary “safe mode” it has been in since August.
That procedure was the latest step in a series of commands designed to allow the orbiter to resume science operations next week, NASA said.
“The patient is out of danger but more steps have to be taken to get it back on its feet,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Jim Erickson.
The orbiter went into a minimum-activity safe mode Aug. 26 when it spontaneously reset its onboard computer for the fourth time this year. The orbiter had resumed normal operations within a few days after each of the earlier resets: Feb. 23, June 4 and Aug. 6. But after the Aug. 26 event, space agency engineers decided to keep the spacecraft in safe mode while investigating possible causes and ramifications of the series of resets.
NASA said the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has been studying Mars since 2006, returning more data about the planet than all other past and current missions to Mars combined.