Mars rover Curiosity back in action after computer problems

Curiosity Rover

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's concept depicts the rover Curiosity, of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, as it uses its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to investigate the composition of a rock surface.

The Mars rover Curiosity is humming again after being sidelined by back-to-back computer problems.

The six-wheel rover fired up its onboard laboratories and analyzed a pinch of rock dust over the weekend. It had been unable to perform science experiments since late last month after experiencing a computer memory problem.

Mission managers say Curiosity will work for a week before it takes another break. But this one is planned, because the sun will block communications between Earth and Mars.

Before the computer woes, Curiosity drilled into a rock, tested the powder and found it contained some of the chemical ingredients necessary for microbial life. There are plans to drill into another rock before setting off for a mountain later this year.

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