The Curiosity rover will have to be stationary for a few days after a short circuit damaged its robotic arm.
On Tuesday, March 3, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that on Friday, Feb. 27, the rover encountered problems and had to stop a sample transferring process between the device's robotic arm and its on-board lab.
NASA revealed that when the short circuit occurred, the rover carried on its programmed action, which was to stop any arm activity that was underway when the irregularity occurred. NASA officials suggest that they are conducting some tests on the rover's current configuration before they bring the craft back into operation.
"A transient short in some systems on the rover would have little effect on rover operations. In others, it could prompt the rover team to restrict use of a mechanism," per NASA.
NASA launched the Curiosity rover in November 2011 and it landed on the Martian surface in August 2012. Since then, the Curiosity has provided a number of important information about the Red Planet. However, the rover has also encountered a number of problems while exploring Mars.
In early November 2013, the car-sized rover went into safe mode after receiving a software update from the Earth. Scientists recognized the software glitch and resolved the issue within a few days.
In December 2013, NASA revealed that the rough terrain on Mars has caused several damages to the wheels of Curiosity. The rover sustained more damages than previously estimated by the agency. NASA also released a few images of the rover's wheel with dents and holes. Scientists had to plan an alternate route for the rover to avoid further damage.
Despite all the problems, the Curiosity had been successful in its missions till now. Currently, the rover is drilling the surface of the Red Planet at various sites to collect and analyze samples.
NASA is not hoping to launch its next Mars rover until 2020 and scientists will hope that the damage due to the short circuit is not very serious. If the Curiosity rover is disabled it means that the Earth will not be able to get any new information about the Martian surface for the next five years.
NASA Scientists are working to resolve the issue and they will hope that the rover is back in business as soon as possible so that it can start its drilling operations at the "Telegraph Peak" once again.