NASA's Pluto probe will spend 'days' recovering from a glitch (updated)

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NASA's Pluto probe will spend 'days' recovering from a glitch (updated)

Don't expect to hear more from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft for a while. The Pluto observer recently encountered a glitch that made it lose contact for an hour and a half. That doesn't sound like much of a problem, but it was enough to kick the probe into a safe mode that doesn't collect scientific data. The mission team believes it could take up to "several days" to get back to normal due to the distance from Earth -- and that's slightly worrying when the mission's all-important Pluto flyby should take place on July 14th. While there's a good chance that New Horizons will be back to normal by the time it's close to the dwarf planet, it's clear that every day of downtime will matter.

Update: NASA expects business as usual to resume on July 7th. The problem was an obscure "timing flaw" in the flyby command sequence, and there are no plans to repeat that sequence again. Also, the downtime will have a "minimal" impact on New Horizon's secondary scientific goals.

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