MarsOrbiter - Panel Says Computer Error Felled Mars Orbiter...

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Panel Says Computer Error Felled Mars Orbiter - New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/14/science/space/14mars.html?ex=117. .. 1 of 2 4/14/2007 4:15 PM E-MAIL PRINT REPRINTS SAVE SHARE Panel Says Computer Error Felled Mars Orbiter By KENNETH CHANG Published: April 14, 2007 Although it circled Mars longer than any other spacecraft, the Mars Global Surveyor did not die a death of old age last November, a review board assembled by NASA announced yesterday. Instead, an errant computer command five months earlier had been placed in the wrong location of the computer memory for the spacecraft. That, in effect, implanted a fatal defect in the spacecraft, disabling a safety feature to prevent the solar panels from rotating too far and mangling its ability to communicate with Earth in case of a mishap. Last Nov. 2, a run-of-the-mill command to the Global Surveyor set off the latent time bomb. Because the safety feature had been disabled, the solar panels rotated as far as they could, causing the spacecraft to “think” erroneously that the panels had jammed. In its last 13-minute contact, the Global Surveyor reported numerous alarms to mission controllers but gave no indication that it was in immediate danger. As the spacecraft tried to recover, it ended up in an orientation such that the Sun was shining directly on a battery, causing it to overheat. The Global Surveyor misinterpreted
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This document was uploaded on 11/03/2011 for the course CSE 442 at SUNY Buffalo.

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MarsOrbiter - Panel Says Computer Error Felled Mars Orbiter...

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