NASA to hack the Mars rover Opportunity in order to fix 'amnesia' fault
The Mars rover Opportunity, which has been exploring the Red Planet for more than 10 years, is suffering from memory problems, Nasa has said. The six-wheeled vehicle, not to be confused with Curiosity, which launched in 2011 - keeps resetting unexpectedly.
The Opportunity team thinks an age-related fault affecting the flash memory used by the robot is to blame. It believes it has found a way to hack the rover's software to disregard the faulty part. Speaking to Discovery News, NASA project manager John Callas outlined how his team intended to solve the issue.
He explained how the rover, like a typical computer, has two key types of memory - volatile and non-volatile. Non-volatile memory "remembers" its information even if it is powered down, making it ideal for long-term storage, similar to how a hard drive works on a PC. Volatile memory - comparable to a PC's random access memory, or RAM - is quicker to access but requires power, so when the machine turns off, any data stored within the volatile memory is lost
The problem with Opportunity is that its non-volatile memory is suffering from a fault, probably related to the hardware's age.