Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Flash-Memory Reformat Underway

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals. 

The project is taking steps to reformat the rover's Flash file system to correct the recurring reset problem.

On Sols 3767 and 3768 (Aug. 29 and 30, 2014), the project sent special commands to put the rover into a mode that does not use the Flash file system.

This was successful and the rover performed without any errors for those two sols.

A diagnostic check of the flight software portion of Flash was also performed. For Sols 3769, 3770 and 3771 (Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, 2014), the rover was operated back in its normal mode using the Flash files system.

The rover remained under master sequence control for all three sols without any Flash-induced resets.

On Sol 3772 (Sept. 3, 2014), the project began the process of copying a subset of necessary files from the Flash files system over to EEPROM (other non-volatile storage) for safe keeping during the reformat process.

The plan ahead is to perform the reformat of the Flash files system, then restore the necessary files to Flash. At that point, the rover should be back into normal operation.

As of Sol 3771 (Sept. 2, 2014), the solar array energy production was 713 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.852 and a solar array dust factor of 0.771.

Total odometry is 25.28 miles (40.69 kilometers).

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