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Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA activated Curiosity's second 'brain' after it misbehaved

Maybe it just wants a rest?
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NASA / JPL-Caltech

Tired? Sluggish? Wouldn't it be great if you could just switch your brain to a better functioning version? Well, that's a privilege you can enjoy if you're the Mars Curiosity rover. NASA's intrepid explorer has been subject to a few technical problems over the last two weeks, which means it's been struggling to send its data back to Earth, so engineers have decided to activate Curiosity's second brain.

Curiosity has two "brains" (computers), Side A and Side B. It landed on Mars in 2012 with Side A activated, but was switched to Side B after it started ignoring orders. Curiosity's deputy project manager explained in a post that NASA is operating on Side A starting today, "but it could take us time to fully understand the root cause of the issue and devise workarounds for the memory on Side B." It is possible for Curiosity to continue its mission using Side A, but the team intends to switch back to B as that side has a larger memory. To be fair, Curiosity has been trundling along for six years now. Maybe it just needs a strong coffee.

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