NASA’s Curiosity rover is taking a break from its work on Mars because of a short circuit that occurred on February 27. The rover was moving rock powder from the drill on its arm to internal instruments when the failure occurred. The same standard sample transfer was completed in 2013 and 2014 without any problems.
The vehicle’s programming automatically stopped the robotic arm as a precaution when the transient short circuit occurred. NASA engineers are now running tests to determine more information about the irregularity in the electric current. The exact location of the short will determine whether the rover’s operations can continue as usual or if certain mechanisms need to be restricted. NASA is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions.