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 11:27:11 PM
I think the questions people have asked are fair enough, although they probably sound stupid to the NASA scientists. While everyone knows this is a great achievement, it is only when details emerge, such as the person's comment above which stated that the processors used arespecial radiation harden processors, that you start to appreciate the immense amount of thought and effort that went into making Curiosity.
The bit I liked was when, just after the landing, the scientists were going through the results, and one of them said the rocket unit had 0.14 kilograms (140 grams ... I guess that's about half a cup) of fuel left inside at fly away. From the reaction of the other scientists this seemed to be exactly what they had calculated, which, if correct, is another indication of the thought and effort that went into landing Curiosity.
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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