Often events like cosmic ray hits on sensitive electronics can cause an automated shutdown, but in this case it seems to be a software mismatch that caused the glitch, forcing Curiosity's systems to determine a shutdown was necessary to prevent any lasting damage to the mission while engineers worked through the problem.
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Curiosity was pulled out of safe mode on July 9 and all seems to be back to normal, so the six-wheeled rover has been commanded back to work after the short break.
As an interesting aside, shortly before Curiosity was powered down, the rover captured this cool image of the horizon on Mount Sharp's slopes, featuring a strange-looking boulder at the rock formation "Murray Buttes":
The mission team made special note of the image.
"One of the images in this panorama shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced," said geologist and Curiosity team member Ken Herkenhoff in a blog. "No, we don't plan to drive right up next to it, but we'll probably get closer looks as the rover proceeds toward Mount Sharp."
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Now Curiosity is back at work we can look forward to even more breathtaking science in the Martian dust and, hopefully, get a better look at this strange Martian standing stone.
GALLERY: The Beautiful Dunes Of Mars