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Mars rover fine after space version of Control-Alt-Delete

NASA scientists report successful rebooting of Curiosity after the Mars rover suffers a software glitch.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A glitch forced NASA's Mars rover Curiosity to perform a software reboot, known as a "warm reset," last week, but now the rover is running like normal again.

NASA said the successful reboot took place November 7, roughly four-and-half hours after administrators temporarily loaded new flight software into the rover's memory. For the next three days, Curiosity was put into what NASA called "safe mode." NASA said commands recovering the spacecraft were uplinked to Curiosity early Sunday morning.

The unexpected reset by caused by an error in existing onboard software, NASA said Tuesday, which resulted in an error in a catalog file. When Curiosity's new flight software processed the catalog, it ran into the error and triggered the reset. This is the first time NASA had to execute a fault-related warm reset on Curiosity, which landed on inside Mars' Gale Crater 16 months ago.

"We returned to normal engineering operations," said Rajeev Joshi, a software and systems engineer for the Curiosity mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement. "We are well into planning the next several days of surface operations and expect to resume our drive to Mount Sharp this week."

Update, 10:32 a.m. PT: Adds information from NASA on the cause of the glitch.