US space agency NASA has said that its Mars Opportunity rover, which has been exploring the Martian surface since ten years, has developed severe memory problems.
According to the team behind the Opportunity project, the robot keeps resetting itself on regular intervals and it is due to an age-related glitch that is affecting its flash memory.
Revealing more about the problem that the rover is facing, NASA project manager John Callas said, “We are calling the problem as ‘amnesia,’ as the rover is trying to use the flash memory. It stores telemetry data in that volatile memory, but when the rover goes to sleep and wakes up again, all (the data) is gone. So that’s it’s amnesia or the memory problem.”
“The problems started off fairly benign, but now they’ve become more serious — much like an illness, the symptoms were mild, but now with the progression of time, things have become more serious,” Callas said.
Callas said that the problem makes rover stop whatever it was doing in the past as it’s unsure what caused the reset. This is interrupting NASA’s science mission on the surface of the Red Planet, he underlined.
According to Callas, they now require to hack the systems of Opportunity Rover in order to find a solution to this amnesia problem.
Callas said that his team has probably found a way to hack into the software of Opportunity and fix the glitch.
According to NASA, the team feels that the solution to the glitch is probably a couple of weeks away from actual implementation. This is because the age of the robot may be approaching to the end.
“Hence, we’re always cautious that something could happen,” Callas said.
The American space agency still has the Curiousity rover on the Red Planet following its launch in 2011 which is searching for life on the martian surface.