The NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode on 9 March after an unscheduled swap from one main computer to another. The mission’s ground team has begun restoring the spacecraft to full operations. Full communications was maintained with its NASA/JPL controllers back on Earth though it was noted that the event included an unscheduled swap to a redundant radio transponder on the orbiter. The Mars Reconnaissance orbiter is a key relay platform for the surviving Mars rovers on the planet with is now its main role after its original science mission was completed in 2008. Science observations continue as a secondary role.
Artist’s impression of Mars Reconnaissance orbit around planet. Courtesy: NASA