NASA's Curiosity Rover to Receive Four-Day Software Update for Mars Exploration
August 12, 2012 2:42 PM
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Photos from Curiosity on Mars
Curiosity will endure a four-day R10 software upgrade, which will allow it to drive through Martian terrain and use its instruments to check its surroundings
NASA Mars rover Curiosity is receiving a four-day software upgrade before it starts its
across Martian terrain.
Curiosity is a $2.5 billion one-ton, six-wheeled, car-sized Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that landed on the Red Planet last week after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011. The Mars rover traveled through space for just over eight months before finally touching down on the planet's surface.
Curiosity has finally landed
, its time to upgrade the software for the next phase of its journey. Curiosity was previously programmed for the flight/landing phase of the mission, but now, its time to move on to the exploration stage.
Curiosity will endure a four-day R10 software upgrade, which will allow it to drive through Martian terrain and use its instruments to check its surroundings. The Mars rover packs a single-board RAD 750 system with PowerPC 750 clocked at 200 MHz. It also has 256 MB of DRAM and 2 GB of flash storage.
Why is it taking four days for the update? According to NASA engineers, they just want to be thorough and
make sure nothing goes wrong
The first day will be a "soft install" of the R10 software, while the second day will be a full installation and the third day will be a full installation to Curiosity's backup computer. The fourth day will likely be testing and prep.
After the software upgrades and testing, Curiosity will use tools like a large robot arm, weather station, percussive drill, a laser and 4.8kg of plutonium-238 to explore the Red Planet.
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RE: Why not bring it all with you?
8/13/2012 4:09:10 PM
I was listening to a local AM talk station here in socal who was interviewing a JPL engineer. He said the reason why they're sending the software now, was that it just wasn't ready enough with the bugs worked out before the passing of the launch window. He also said something to the effect that the previous probes taught them to have the capability to do a full re-programming worked into the design from the get go.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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