NASA fixing Curiosity glitch
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been temporarily put into “safe mode,” as scientists monitoring from Earth try to fix a computer glitch, the space agency said. Scientists switched to a backup computer on Thursday so that they could troubleshoot the problem, said to be linked to a glitch in the original computer’s flash memory. “We switched computers to get to a standard state from which to begin restoring routine operations,” said Richard Cook of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates the rover. A NASA statement said scientists expect to shift the powered-down computer on the Curiosity back to full operation in the coming days. The US$2.5 billion Curiosity mission, which is set to last at least two years, aims to study the Martian environment and to hunt for evidence of water in preparation for a possible future manned mission.
SpaceX’s capsule nears ISS
A privately-owned unmanned space capsule neared the International Space Station (ISS) early yesterday, preparing to dock to deliver food, scientific materials and other crucial equipment. “Dragon is scheduled to be captured Sunday at 6:31am EST by NASA Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn,” NASA said in a statement. NASA said SpaceX’s Dragon would be installed onto the Earth-facing port of the ISS’ Harmony module by ground experts at mission control in Houston, Texas, and bolted into place via commands by the ISS crew. The original plan was for Dragon to attach to the space station on Saturday and return to Earth on March 25, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. However, the capsule had trouble with its thrusters shortly after launching on Friday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, triggering the delay. SpaceX engineers found that only one of the spacecraft’s four thruster pods, which help maneuver the capsule in orbit, was working. The problems were later fixed.
Mayor says he does not read
The mayor of Trujillo, the nation’s third-largest city, inaugurated a book fair by saying he does not like to read. “People close me to know that I do not read, that I never write, but I took time last night to go over some papers and be able to explain what a book fair is,” Trujillo Mayor Cesar Acuna said. His words on Friday as reported by media drew a mixture of laughter and whispers among the shocked audience. “At the book fair, one must read,” said Acuna, who founded a university and owns a first-division soccer team. He called the book fair a “union between the people and culture.”
Club fire toll rises to 240
A 25-year-old man died on Saturday of injuries suffered in a nightclub fire, bringing the death toll in the tragedy to 240, hospital officials said. A Christ the Redeemer Hospital spokeswoman in Porto Alegre told reporters that Pedro Falcao Pinheiro died, but provided no further details. The fire broke out Jan. 27 at the Kiss nightclub in the college town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul State. Police have linked the blaze to an ill-fated pyrotechnic show staged by musicians using flares designed for outdoor use. The club was also overcrowded and the only way out was poorly marked. Witnesses have said that the fire extinguishers did not work.