[U: Resolved.] First Glitch — But Easily Remedied — In Black Space’s Loneliness: Of Holmes’ “Original Work”

Updated: Here on Friday afternoon, the JPL folks now say the issue is resolved, thus: “With safe mode exit, the team is getting down to the business of interplanetary cruise,” said Mars 2020 deputy project manager Matt Wallace of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Next stop, Jezero Crater. . . .” End updated portion.

Well. . . old Holmes came to me, unbidden this morning in the luminous clarity — of dawn. . . and it was plainly synchronicity. . . at work.

You see, Perseverance has already encountered its first bit of lonely, original work: the capsule was colder than anticipated, as the craft orbited to Earth’s dark side — and thus the long legged copper hued rover went into “safe” mode.

Many an astronaut, from John Glenn — to Sally Ride and Mae Jemison — have famously remarked. . . on just how completely silent, and inky dark, the void of space really is, compared to all the reflected light of our atmosphere, which we take for granted. So the craft and its robot will do some. . . decidedly lonely Holmes-ian work, in the tomb-like silence of space, in the coming days.

Here’s the bit — but it will be easily rectified:

. . . .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. All temperatures are now nominal and the spacecraft is out of Earth’s shadow.

When a spacecraft enters safe mode, all but essential systems are turned off until it receives new commands from mission control. 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. Right now, the Mars 2020 mission is completing a full health assessment on the spacecraft and is working to return the spacecraft to a nominal configuration for its journey to Mars. . . .

Now you know — off to some original work, of my own. . . smiling just the same. Be excellent to one another; we are all we’ve got.


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