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Short circuit halts NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover for days

NASA’s Curiosity rover will take a break from gathering samples of the dusty Martian landscape, while engineers determine whether a short circuit damaged the robot’s arm, the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Tuesday.

On Feb. 27, the rover was transferring rock powder collected by its drill when an electric problem halted its work. The rover, NASA said, has managed to complete the same drilling process before without any hiccups.

“We are running tests on the vehicle in its present configuration before we move the arm or drive,” Curiosity project manager Jim Erickson said, in a statement. “This gives us the best opportunity to determine where the short is.”

Curiosity will remain inactive for several days while engineers diagnose the issue. NASA said the short could, at worst, prevent the use of certain instruments.

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