The exploration of Mars by Opportunity blocked by a Flash memory failure

Mars-RoverOriginally designed to work 90 days on the surface of mars, Opportunity has the memory that fails. After 10 years of good and loyal service, the robot in memory which fails. Certain Flash memory which equips the “rover”, arrived at the end of life, do work more. Each error, Opportunity resets, losing its telemetry data and goes back to zero. A loss of memory on which Nasa engineers working to find a solution.

Flash memories at the end of life questioning the mission of Opportunity

Much was written on the life of Flash memory in recent years when the generalization of the SSD memory in laptops and high-performance storage systems. It touches the finger today this problem with the robot Opportunity. It does not have hard drive to store its data, but 256 MB memory Flash. Problem, one of 7 databases is out of service. At each error encountered, the on-board computer will reset and the robot is always locked by these incessant blockages.

Opportunity lors de ses derniers tests avant son départ pour Mars. C'était en 2002.

Opportunity lors de ses derniers tests avant son départ pour Mars. C’était en 2002.

This computer, based on a processor IBM RAD6000 under VxWorks, can no longer count on the 128 MB of RAM to run. Initially, NASA engineers have changed the embedded code of “rover” to no longer use Flash memory, but only the available RAM. A transient, as solution to each Martian night, Opportunity enters sleep… mode and loses all its data. Engineers are now working on a solution that will allow Opportunity to work only with its 6 memory banks still valid Flash. If he succeed this update, Opportunity has perhaps a few years ahead of him to traverse the surface of Mars.

Translation : Bing Translator

Source :

“Mars Rover Opportunity Suffers Worrying Bouts of ‘Amnesia'”, Discovery News, December 29, 2014

“MARS EXPLORATION ROVER MISSION STATUS REPORT Opportunity Working in No-Flash Mode for Now”, December 11, 2014


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