Mars Rover Curiosity in Safe Mode after M1 Solar Flare? - Mar 5, 2013

Curiosity went into Safe Mode Wednesday after the sun unleashed a powerful blast that raced toward Mars.

NASA's Curiosity rover has powered down to wait out a Mars-bound solar blast, complicating efforts to bring the 1-ton robot back from a computer glitch.

Curiosity's handlers put the rover on standby after the sun unleashed a medium-strength flare in the Red Planet's direction Tuesday (March 5).

It's the second recent shutdown for Curiosity, which had just come out of protective "safe mode" Saturday (March 2) as engineers work through an issue with its primary computer system. Read more

The coronal mass ejection sent out an M1 class, or medium, solar flare from the north-east of the Sun that will hit NASA's Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO B) spacecraft, the Spitzer space telescope and the rover, as well as possibly glancing off Venus and Mars, according to SpaceWeather.

Is a M1 Solar Flare the real reason to turn Curiosity into Safe Mode?

Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux. Within a class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9.n (apart from X), so an X2 flare is twice as powerful as an X1 flare, and is four times more powerful than an M5 flare.

With all the recently discovered Mars Anomalies as seen on photos captured by curiosity, I wonder whether the M1 class flare is the real reason to turn the Curiosity into Safe Mode. Let us wait and see when NASA publish new photographs captured by Curiosity.