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Curiosity rover flaunts its battle scar, wind sensor is bruised (but not broken)

Zachary Lutz
August 21, 2012
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You can't win 'em all. Such is the case with the Curiosity rover, anyway, as diagnostics have revealed that its wind sensors have sustained damage. NASA engineers aren't fully sure what caused this minor setback to the otherwise successful landing, but hypothesize that stones might've been kicked up during the rocket-powered landing, which then struck the sensor's wiring. Fortunately, there's already someone on the job, as Javier Gomez-Elvira is investigating the damage with the intent of restoring the lost functionality. Another NASA scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, believes the issue is rather minor: "It degrades our ability to detect wind speed and direction when the wind is blowing from a particular direction, but we think we can work around that."

The broken instrument was initially discovered as part of NASA's routine power-cycling of all instrumentation, so as to determine an overall bill of health for the rover. Now that Curiosity has earned its battle scars, it can hold its head high during its journey to Glenelg and Mount Sharp.

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