[UPDATED] The spacecraft carrying the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-built Mars Perseverance rover resumed “nominal flight operations” Friday after it placed itself into “safe mode” due to unexpected temperature fluctuations shortly after its successful launch on Thursday, NASA officials said.
Three hours and 40 minutes after Thursday’s successful launch of the Mars 2020 mission, carrying the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-built Mars Perseverance rover, from Florida, the spacecraft sent a signal relaying that had experienced an anomaly, NASA said in a written statement.
“Data indicate the spacecraft had entered a state known as safe mode, likely because a part of the spacecraft was a little colder than expected while Mars 2020 was in Earth’s shadow,” according to the statement. “All temperatures are now nominal and the spacecraft is out of Earth’s shadow.”
“Safe mode” means that the spacecraft shut down all but essential systems pending further instructions from mission control, the space agency said.
“An interplanetary launch is fast-paced and dynamic, so a spacecraft is designed to put itself in safe mode if its onboard computer perceives conditions are not within its preset parameters,” the statement said.
After completing an assessment, the Mars 2020 mission was back to full health, NASA said in a statement issued Friday morning.
“With safe mode exit, the team is getting down to the business of interplanetary cruise,” Mars 2020 Deputy Project Manager Matt Wallace of JPL said. “Next stop, Jezero Crater.”
After seven months traveling through space, Perseverance is scheduled to touch down at the crater to continue humanity’s search for evidence of ancient life on the Red Planet.
The spacecraft had already traveled more than a million miles since its launch the day before, but the journey was only beginning.
“There is still a lot of road between us and Mars. About 290 million miles of them,” Mars 2020 Project Manager at JPL John McNamee said. “But if there was ever a team that could make it happen, it is this one. We are going to Jezero Crater. We will see you there Feb. 18, 2021.”
Earthling’s are invited to follow the flight path of the Mars 2020 mission online.