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  • Rajnath approves reform of Indian Army headquarters:-Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the first batch of reforms in the Army including relocation of 206 officers from the Army headquarters, setting up of a separate vigilance cell and forming an umbrella organisation to focus on human rights issues. ...
  • IAF always cautious and alert says Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa:-As tensions continue between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa has said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is "always cautious and alert" to check any untoward aerial movement on the border....
  • Chandrayaan-2 placed in Lunar orbit, focus now on soft-landing:- India's Chandrayaan-2 mission, aimed at soft landing a rover in the unexplored south pole of the Moon, achieved a major milestone as the ISRO successfully injected the spacecraft into the lunar orbit on Tuesday. ...
  • Chandrayaan 2 successfully enters orbit around Moon:-In a major milestone for India's Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit on Tuesday. Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver was completed successfully at 0902 hours as planned, using the onboard propulsion system, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said in a statement....

NASA plans to wipe out flash memory of Martian rover Opportunity

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WASHINGTON (PTI): NASA is planning to wipe out Mars rover Opportunity's flash memory as an increasing number of computer resets are interfering with the robot's planned science activities.

The resets, including a dozen this month, interfere with the rover's activities, even though recovery from each incident is completed within a day or two, scientists said.

Flash memory retains data even when power is off. It is the type used for storing photos and songs on smart phones or digital cameras, among many other uses.

Individual cells within a flash memory sector can wear out from repeated use. Reformatting clears the memory while identifying bad cells and flagging them to be avoided.

"Worn-out cells in the flash memory are the leading suspect in causing these resets," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, project manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project.

"The flash reformatting is a low-risk process, as critical sequences and flight software are stored elsewhere in other non-volatile memory on the rover," he said.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project landed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in early 2004 to begin missions planned to last only three months.

Spirit worked for six years, and Opportunity is still active.

The project reformatted the flash memory on Spirit five years ago to stop a series of amnesia events Spirit had been experiencing.

The reformatting planned for early next month will be the first for Opportunity.

Even after the rover has been active for more than a decade and is currently about 200 million kilometres from JPL, the team can still perform this type of upkeep, scientists said.

Preparations include downloading to Earth all useful data remaining in the flash memory and switching the rover to an operating mode that does not use flash memory.

Also, the team is restructuring the rover's communication sessions to use a slower data rate, which may add resilience in case of a reset during these preparations.

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