About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Mars Opportunity - Bouts of 'Amnesia' After Flash Memory Storage Failures

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on December 31, 2014 at 5:50 PM
Font : A-A+

 Mars Opportunity - Bouts of 'Amnesia' After Flash Memory Storage Failures

Bouts of "amnesia" due to flash memory storage failures are experienced in NASA's Mars Opportunity rover. NASA project manager John Callas said that the Opportunity rover uses two different types of memory: "volatile" and "non-volatile", the Verge reported.

The volatile memory is akin to a computer's RAM, so any data stored there is wiped every time the rover shuts down, while non-volatile memory is where the important data like telemetry - the measurements the rover is collecting - is stored so that it can be accessed whenever Opportunity is powered on.


The problem with the non-volatile memory, as with most physical storage, is that there are limits to how many times you can read from and write to it before it starts to degrade.

The researchers said that the degradation has begun to occur more frequently, and at times has left the rover unable to access the non-volatile memory and when this happens, Opportunity defaults to trying to write the telemetry data to the volatile memory, which inevitably gets wiped when the rover goes to sleep - something that occurs often to keep the batteries charged.

The memory issue can be mitigated as long as the rover has a chance to relay telemetry data to the orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft, but there are times when that isn't possible in between shutdowns. There's also a bigger problem at hand - repeated, unsuccessful attempts to save to the non-volatile flash memory are causing Opportunity to completely reboot. That means command sequences, which are sometimes sent in bunches, can also be forgotten, drastically slowing the team's progress.

However, NASA engineers believe that the corruption is occurring primarily in one of the Rover's seven memory banks, and if that's the case then they believe it could only be a matter of weeks before they can program Opportunity to only use the six that aren't corrupted.

Source: ANI


Recommended Reading

Latest Education News

New Courses at State-run Healthcare Institutes Introduced
New medical courses related to nursing, and physiotherapy have been introduced in state-run healthcare and medical institutes in Delhi.
Using Disease-Modifying Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease Treatment
Patients with Alzheimer's disease can now be offered disease-modifying therapy using whole blood exchange as it has been proven effective in mice.
Patient Influencers Partnering with Companies for Drug Promotion
Claims by patient influencers may be an accurate reflection of their own experience with drugs, but it may not support that they will provide 'relief' quickly.
How To Keep Cool During A Heat Wave
Drink water throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, sugar or alcohol, as these contribute to dehydration in hot weather
Health and Environmental Risks of Microplastics
Researchers are investigating the risks of microplastics, using lessons learned from nanotoxicology.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Mars Opportunity - Bouts of 'Amnesia' After Flash Memory Storage Failures Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests