NASA Mars rover Curiosity hiccups, takes a break from science

Don't scare us like that, Curiosity.

Curiosity is one charming rover.

After officially losing the Opportunity rover to a dust storm on Mars, fans of machines on the Red Planet were starting to get antsy about NASA's still-functioning Curiosity rover. The rover website hadn't received mission updates or new raw images for a week. 

Now we know why.

NASA announced Friday that Curiosity experienced a "hiccup during boot-up" the previous Friday. This triggered the rover to go into safe mode and interrupted its planned science activities.

Curiosity has since successfully booted up over 30 times with no sign of further problems, but the rover team is still receiving and looking through technical data to diagnose the mysterious issue. 

"We're currently working to take a snapshot of its memory to better understand what might have happened," said Steven Lee, Curiosity's deputy project manager. NASA is putting the rover's science operations on hold while it investigates.

The rover has run into some technical snafus in the past, including a memory glitch in late 2018

Curiosity is currently exploring an interesting new clay region of Mars nicknamed Glen Torridon. The team is eyeing a possible drilling location at a distance of 656 feet (200 meters) away. 

Hopefully, Curiosity will soon get the all-clear from NASA to resume its science duties.