NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars’s Gale Crater since 2012, entered a precautionary safe mode over the 4th of July weekend. The rover experienced some kind of error on July 2nd, causing most of its activities to come to a halt. Right now, the vehicle is focused solely on staying alive and in good shape, though ground controllers have already established communication with the rover. Now, they are working on getting Curiosity back to full operations.
Ground controllers have already established communication with the rover
But before that can happen, NASA has to request more information from Curiosity about what happened. The space agency thinks there may have been a "mismatch between camera software and data-processing software in the main computer." Hopefully diagnostic information from the vehicle will paint a more detailed picture of the problem.
This isn’t a new scenario for Curiosity. The rover has entered safety mode three times before, all during 2013. The rover successfully recovered from those instances and has since provided valuable science from Mars, such as detecting methane spikes on the planet’s surface. The rover still has a long life ahead, too. Last week, NASA extended the Curiosity mission for an additional two years.