NASA says its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s six science instruments resumed operations Wednesday after being suspended since an Aug. 26 computer reset.
Scientists at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, which manages the mission, said they are now receiving new science data.
“It’s good to have the instruments back on,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Manager Dan Johnston. “This has been a long stand-down. Now we’re ready to resume our science and relay mission.”
NASA said its engineers have not identified a root cause for the four reset events that have occurred this year, but the team has added protections for the spacecraft and expects to obtain more diagnostic information in the event of another reset.
“The orbiter’s six instruments will continue examining the atmosphere, surface and subsurface of Mars, including areas of interest as potential landing sites for future missions,” said JPL’s Rich Zurek, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist. “It is northern spring in the northern hemisphere on Mars, and we are eager to take advantage of the good visibility provided by the relatively dust-free atmosphere present at this season.”
The orbiter was launched Aug. 12, 2005, and reached Mars the following year to begin a two-year primary science phase that was completed last year. NASA officials said the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned more data about Mars than all other spacecraft combined.