NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, at Mars since 2006, made an unplanned switch on Wednesday from one main computer to a redundant one onboard, triggering a hiatus in planned activities.
Sensing the computer swap, the orbiter put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode. It remained healthy, in communication and fully powered. The mission’s operations team expects the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to resume full duty within a few days, including communication relays and science observations.
The orbiter has experienced this type of unplanned computer swap six times previously, starting in 2007 and including two occasions in 2014.